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Issue 32 - When two worlds collide

Whisky Magazine Issue 32
July 2003


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When two worlds collide

Whisky with food is becoming increasingly popular. Dominic Roskrowgets a taste for it

If ever there were a meeting of cultures, it came a few years back at Britain's most famous horse race, The Grand National. We had been taken on a luxury train to Liverpool by the sponsors Martell, had breakfasted on fine food and champagne, had enjoyed a private lunch in a marquee
on the course, and were preparing for the races.

And then a group of Martell's most important guests from Japan insisted that our host, Patrick Martell, join them in some cognac-drinking races. He had to comply. So there he was, a man who had put his life into promoting a premium product which takes years to perfect, downing the stuff like it was water. You could almost hear the sound of grinding teeth.

The story sums up the different attitudes we have to spirits drinking. For while the French treat cognac with a sort of reverence, it is quite acceptable to drink quality spirits in a far more gung-ho and everyday sort of way in Asia.

Most of us sit somewhere between these two extremes, but one thing is certain; there has been a general movement away from the elitist attitudes of old, and a growing number of us are happy to break down conventions.

So much so, that The Sunday Times recently concluded that not only did it not matter what colour wine you drank with your food any more, it didn't even matter if you chose beer or whisky as your accompaniment.

In fact, suggested the paper, with spicy food, whisky is becoming the hip drink of choice in certain quarters.

And the paper's onto something....

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