Whisky Magazine Issue 33
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Whisky cocktails can work, and they could help bring younger drinkers in to the world of malts. A team of Whisky Magazine writers put a selection of them on public trial
Cocktails. Just the mention of them has many whisky lovers spluttering in to their glasses.
And undoubtedly adding a fruit bowl and any number of other sweeteners to a single malt can be truly stomach-churning. But it needn't be this way, and slowly but very surely whisky producers are accepting that cocktails might be the way to bring in younger and female customers.
Distillers and the cream of the bar trade are taking a softly-softly approach to the issue. Glenfiddich, for instance, is promoting a range of what it calls its ‘essential serve' drinks, each one adding only a hint of mixers, so that the whisky is allowed to shine.
Bourbon producers have always been less precious about the subject anyway, but companies such as Woodford Reserve are working closely with style bars to reinvent classic cocktails such as the mint julep, using their product.
And Fior Brands, home of Bowmore and Auchentoshan, has teamed up with some of the world's top bars to develop sophisticated, subtle and perfectly blended drinks featuring its products.
Whisky's big problem is that it faces attack on two fronts. Unlike most other spirits it has fiercely loyal drinkers who object passionately to its nuances being drenched in sweetener.
But at the same time, it is rejected by a major part of the youth market and the people most important when talking about its long-term future.
So can whisky cocktails ever be acceptable to either, or even both groups? We decided to find out. We went to two o...