Thursday, December 31, 2009
"So, what's on for New Year's?" I asked Joe, all excited for a nice winter's brew to warm the chill out of my bones.
"Hogmanay!" he replied.
"Hogmawha? Sounds, uh, tasty."
Joe explained, (with the needed patience,) how "Hogmanay" was not the drink for New Year's, but the name of the holiday itself. At least the holiday celebrated in Scotland, from where this week's 'Greatest Drink in World' hails.
'Twas many years ago. A young Joe, then a journeyman, plying his mixological trade from town to town, found himself at a wee pub just north of Aberdeen. Mid-afternoon saw locals wander in and, along with their square sausage, tatties, and scones, a common order was the Whisky Mac. At this point of his travels, Joe knew of this drink, and had mixed his share, but it wasn't until that mid-winter's chill at the pub had he witnesses firsthand the drink's hold on it's people. And for good reason; this drink is among their own and absolutely brilliant.
- Add boiling water to taste.
Most commonly served in a whisky glass, (mine arrived in a brandy snifter, apparently to amplify the experience through both the feel of the heat and the smell of the ginger, or something like that.)
Original recipe by Col. MacDonald, RAJ, India
Bartender's Notes: The Whisky Mac is a traditional Scottish drink, and with the New Year's Eve celebration of Hogmanay, it seemed only natural to combine the two.
The 'Whisky Mac' was invented in the 1800's when a Scottish Colonel in the Indian Army decided to mix Ginger Wine in with his scotch. This may have something to do with the belief that ginger, and likewise Ginger Wine, possessed medicinal and aphrodisiacal properties, which may have been the impetus behind the slogan, "Stay Up With Stone's!"
The recipe calls for scotch, and Johnnie Walker Black is among the higher-end, blended whiskies. It's addition is what gives the drink the name, the "Johnnie Mac."
It is important to note that "scotch" means the drink and not the people. The people are know as "The Scots" and referring wrongly to one or the other would be unwise in either situation.
Chris's Notes: With the first sip of this concoction, I was awash with warmth. It was like drinking a hug from a favorite aunt. In it's warm embrace, I found a comfort and support. The crisp snap of the Johnnie Walker, complimented expertly by the sweet ginger, was brought up to new heights with the addition of the hot water. It was as if my whole self was going, "Aaaahhh" and "Mmmmm," at the same time, watching the shivers leave me. This is a highly recommended cocktail to warm a body this time of year, and not something to just be reserved for Hogmanay or New Years.
For a more in-depth look at Johnnie Walker and his legacy, you can view the 6 minute film, "The Man Who Walked Around the World," starring Robert Carlysle, Right here!
(Click for the Johnny Walker film.)
So get your Black Bun and "Lang may yer lum reek"