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Issue 49 - The world at our feet

Whisky Magazine Issue 49
July 2005

 

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The world at our feet

Modern whisky cocktails are impacting across the world. Australian drinks writer Naren Young takes a global view

It's quite ironic that even though many of the world's most famous mixed drinks and cocktails are whisky-based (think Mint Julep, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Rob Roy, among several others), they're served with alarming irregularity in many corners of the globe. As more consumers jump on the white spirits band wagon, where taste and complexity is sacrificed for the sake of ignorant inebriation, brown spirits such as the whisky family have been somewhat forgotten in recent years.

All hope is not lost, however, as a new breed of creative and passionate bartender, coupled with a more educated, savvy and curious consumer, look to whiskies in all their forms for inspiration and enjoyment. Much of this modern imbibing has been under the guise of the modern whisky cocktail, which is shaping the future of the category in many ways.

While at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival I shared a few Manhattans with whisky expert, Hall of Fame inductee and all round nice guy Gary Regan and we discussed the current state of play for the whisky categor in general, the new shift in the demographic of drinker and the role that cocktails are likely to play in the future.

“In many ways, I believe cocktails are the best way to attract a new generation of whisky drinker,” comments Regan. “Whisky can be a hard spirit for people to get into; they need to acquire a palate for it, so starting them out on whisky cocktails is a fine start. Few people in my generation got into whisky before they were, say, 3...

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