Not Your Traditional Wine Dinner

Do you follow trends? Then consider forgoing the wine and breaking out the bottles of good whisky for your next dinner party.

For as many years as I can remember we have been producing wine and beer dinners for our most valued guests!  A couple of months ago we decided to mix up that tradition and have a Blended Scotch Whiskey dinner showcasing Johnnie Walker flights.  One of my favorite pieces to the evening was having their“Master Distiller” at the dinner to help me best explain what one should be looking for when it comes to characteristics, flavor profiles, temperature varieties and how that effects the taste and the proper vessel to sip out of.  

Personally I am not much of a spirit drinker but, what was intriguing to me most was the difference in taste based on the temperature served.  I knew that this was true with fine wines and Sake but, Spirits?  Here are some examples taken from the Master himself: Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve: well-chilled, has a texture like honey
Johnnie Walker Double Black: gently warmed in a hot water bath has an earthy, warmth reminiscent of a warm bread pudding
Johnnie Walker Red: is perfect alone or in your favorite mixed drink.
Johnnie Walker Blue: Serve NEAT with a glass of chilled water taking alternate sips to maximize it’s complexity

Most of the aficionados that patronize my restaurant and event facility do enjoy JW over whiskey stones, aka Soap Stones. The stones are stored in our freezer then we add two to three per glass, based on our guest’s preference, this allows the spirit to chill without the dilution of water. 

Food pairings

Cheese
Pair smoky with Roquefort.
With sweeter Scotches try a softer cheese such as brie.
For a variety go with sharp cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, and gouda.
 Chocolate
Whiskey is a great complement to chocolate, especially dark chocolate. The more cacao, the better or take it to the next level with nuts and chocolate!
Fruit
Something tangy or tart, like apples or pears, goes well with whiskey. Try to stay away from fruits that contain too much citrus, like oranges — this will mask too much of the whiskey's flavor.
Any Pork products
From ribs to a perfectly roasted loin, or crispy rinds and bacon.  Feel free to add aromas such as rosemary, thyme, Cajun spices and/or fermented garlic to any of the above.

KRISPY KREME DONUTS RECIPE

6 each Krispy Kreme donuts
4 each Belgium waffles (or other bread/croissant)
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
10 each egg yolks
Whisk yolks, sugar and extract together. Heat cream to a simmer, and temper into yolk mixture. Pour over donuts/waffles and soak for an hour. Spray a small cast iron vessel or pan with pan release, and fill with bread pudding mix. Bake covered at 350 for 35 minutes and uncovered for 7-10 minutes. Serve with Sauce Anglaise

CREAM ANGLAISE WITH JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK

1 qt. Heavy Cream
1 cup Sugar
12 ea. egg yolks
1 ea. vanilla bean
2 ounces Johnny Walker Black

Bring the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla bean to a boil. Temper the hot cream and egg yolks. Place mixture into the pot and continue to cook on a low heat until sauce coats the back of a spoon. In a small saucepan under your vent hood, flame off 2 ounces of JW Black and reduce by half, reserve till end.  Remember to stir continually while sauce is thickening so it does not scorch.  Strain over water bath then add JW Black (after chilled)

Wine Poached Pears

6 firm Bartlett pears
1 bottle red wine
1 vanilla bean, whole
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
2 cups sugar

Peel pears and leave stem intact. In a large pot, bring wine and an equal amount of cold water to a simmer. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and add to wine and water mixture. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and sugar, to taste. Add pears to liquid and simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender.
***Note pears will carry over cook, so pull while the still a bit firm. Cool pears in wine mixture to room temperature. You can refrigerate them in the poaching liquid until you're ready to fill them.

Remove stems from pears and set stems aside. Core pears with an apple corer, leaving pear whole

Fig & Pig Salad
Stilton Cheese Puffs, Spiced Plum Vinaigrette, Wine Poached Pears & Toasted Pecans
Johnnie Walker Double Black Label

Drink Suggestion- Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker Red Label was launched in its current form by brothers George and Alexander Walker in 1909, though it had existed as Walker's Special Old Highland Red Label for some years previously. Alexander blended a type of whisky which is more suited to mixing with soda than the heavier, more old-fashioned whiskies, and named it after his grandfather, who had started the family business in 1820. Today it is the world's most popular whisky and is sold in more than 200 markets world-wide.

Johnnie Walker Scottish Whisky is a great way to celebrate any occasion or holiday. It is the most widely distributed Scotch whisky. With many different blends, this whisky is sure to please a variety of palettes. Each bottle has a key feature, and that is the Striding Man logo. Created by illustrator Tom Browne, the likeness was to resemble John “Johnnie” Walker in upscale attire. Diageo, the product’s manufacturer, has created a members club for those who drink Johnnie Walker, called “The Striding Man Society.”

Special thanks to Brad Bush, Georgia Crown Distributing Co.