Notice anything unusual about these staff picks? That’s right, there’s only two whiskeys. The remaining two items are bottles of bitters. Confused? If you read this article with our take on the classic Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail you won’t be.
Like most serious whisky commentators we’ve always told you not to put ice in your whiskey. Cocktails are of course an exception to that. But as any of you who have ever tried it will know, ice does strange things to whisky. As it cools certain flavours are suppressed and others seem to come to the fore. Not all whiskeys remain pleasant and some are distinctly uncooperative in cocktails.
Our bourbon and rye choices here are not only fantastic sipping whiskeys, straight up with no ice, they perform exceptionally well in our cocktail and would no doubt suit other recipes. As for the bitters, if you’re experience to date consists solely of the famous and widely available Angostura Bitters then you have a world of flavour experience about to open up to you...
Staff Picks - our choices for this month
Cracking value for money, this rye has beautiful sweet depths and plenty of spice. If you’re not using it in cocktails the overproof version is worth checking out. This standard strength edition is spot on as the base for a range of whiskey cocktails.
£25.99 at www.masterofmalt.com
Ridgemont Reserve “1792”
1792 was year Kentucky became independent from Virginia and joined the Union as the 15th state. This bourbon celebrates that date in its name but there’s a lot more to celebrate here with its delight balance of rye spice and sweetness.
£63.95 at www.htfw.com
The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters
German company The Bitter Truth make some astonishing concoctions, not least of which are these bitters based on a recipe by legendary 19th century bartender Jerry Thomas. Rich, dark and aromatic they’ll enhance a huge variety of cocktails.
£15.25 at www.masterofmalt.com
The Bitter Truth: Orange Bitters
There are certain flavours which pretty much universally work with whisky and top of that list has to be orange. These exceptional orange bitters will work wonders with your whiskey cocktail recipes and are essential for a good Old Fashioned.
£14.53 at www.masterofmalt.com