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Issue 97 - Up in Smoke

Whisky Magazine Issue 97
July 2011


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Up in Smoke

Naren Young looks at some of the exciting things happening behind the stick

If you're reading this magazine then there is, I'm assuming, a very high possibility that you enjoy a smoky dram from time to time. That unique, heady and captivating complexity that comes from the salt and sea air drifting in from Islay or one of the other islands off Scotland's coast. The Laphroaigs and Lagavulins are not for everybody and as a career bartender I know all too well the trials and tribulations of attracting new drinkers to the joys of a smoky tipple.
One road that many are willing to take, however, is trying these complex malts in a cocktail. A little goes a long way though and it doesn't even need to be the base spirit, but used rather as an accent as one would use, say, bitters in a drink. Some bartenders also choose to just coat the inside of a glass with said Scotch – as is done in the classic Smoky Martini. Heck while you're at it, why not garnish it with a skewered piece of smoked Scottish salmon?
I'm serious. The most remarkable Smoky Martini ever put to these lips was at Rome's opulent Supper Club, where former head bartender Leonardo Leuci rinsed the glass with Lagavulin infused with Montecristos.
Others might even spray their chosen malt over the top of their libations using an atomiser or eye dropper, adding a wonderful briny aroma as you take your first sip. You'll be transported to Port Ellen in a jiffy.
As an example, and one of the few drinks that has become a modern classic around the world is the Penicillin, created by Aussie bartender S...

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