As the festive season is once again upon us – many folks often have a tipple at this time of year to celebrate.
Some may be regular whiskey drinkers and are looking for something a bit more Xmas – more spice perhaps?
Others may not be whiskey drinkers at all – but enjoy the sweet – (dare I say often sickly sweet) – creamy drinking experience offered by many liqueurs. The fact that the whiskey taste is often obscured by all the added ingredients is a bonus for many of these occasional drinkers – despite what we whiskey fans may think – and it is a crowded market.
My own introduction into this genre of spirits was via the much lauded Drambuie. A full strength – 40% ABV – mix of Scottish whisky, herbs, spices and generous helpings of heather honey give this cloying drink a bit of a kick. A favourite of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s by all accounts – or at least the ingenious sales patter! My wife and I enjoyed a glass of this on cold winter evenings as a night cap – until her heartburn intervened.
Meanwhile – the lovely Flaming Pig – 33% ABV – from Dublin follows a similar theme using Irish whiskey, cinnamon, cloves and pepper – but leaves out the honey. This results in a pleasant whiskey nose – followed through by a profusion of warm spices on taste with a pleasing afterglow. I really enjoyed this liqueur and look forward to sipping a glass slumbering by the fire after a hearty Xmas dinner!
Cream based liqueurs are a popular buy at Christmas and the ubiquitous Bailey’s is undoubtedly the top of the pile. My octogenarian mother certainly enjoys a bottle or two and the fact that the whiskey is totally obscured by the rich cream, cocoa and vanilla is the whole point for her. At 17% it’s not too strong – but easy enough to drink too many.
Over the years she has also enjoyed the lovely Coole Swan from Ireland – (which I first came across at the Athlone Agricultural Show of all places) – Merlyn Cream from the fine Penderyn Distillery in Wales as well as Edradour Cream from Scotland – just to do a tour of the British Isles!
A new range of spirit based liqueurs have certainly gone down well with my better half – as well as her friends. Ruby Blue – based in Antrim – produce a range of 4 colourful varieties – my wife’s current favourite being Wild Blueberry. It helps too that the passion and expertise of the owner at a stall in the Dublin Loop certainly captivated and won over the other half. There will be a bottle or two downed in our house over the next few weeks – mainly by the fairer sex I must say – not enough bite for myself.
So there you go. A brief tour of some tasty liqueurs that have found their way into the Whiskey Nut homestead.
I do hope this blog finds you in good health – the fine spirits are for you to choose.
Whatever you’re having this Christmas – just remember to drink responsibly – many of these liqueurs taste like boiled sweets but they still contain alcohol – and some very much so! Don’t let the occasional drinkers polish off the bottle as there may be sore heads the following morning!
Enjoy your tipple of choice.
Enjoy the companionship of friends and family.
Enjoy the festive season – whatever individual form that may take.
Many thanks to all my readers and followers.
See you all in 2016.