LONDON BARS – Dewars whisky, definitely shaken and tastebuds stirred

Dewars_204Now, Whiskey is probably not the drink of choice for your average girl about town to hit up, mostly reserved for the more suave gents we know milling about with cigars and chatter at the end of a night. So I was intrigued to get this invite to sample some of the whisky cocktails that have been developed by award winning bartender and master of the mix Tom Walker at the beautiful American Bar at the Savoy.

Never needing an excuse to go to the Savoy and not being an expert on Whiskey by any means I took myself and my more whiskey appreciating friend along with me to sample these pleasures on a chilly Monday night. Walking through the beautiful iconic entrance to the Savoy and up into the American bar is always the stuff of fairytales. The plush, classic art deco surrounds complemented by the resident jazz pianist come singer adding to the refined ambiance. Although American, Planet Hollywood this is not.

Walking through the beautiful iconic entrance to the Savoy and up into the American bar is always the stuff of fairytales.

The waiting staff are impeccably polite, attentive and service is quick and with a smile. I ordered a glass of Sancerre as I waited, which swiftly arrived with a thus I relaxed and enjoyed the mellow wine whilst being transported back to the America of days gone by. On arrival of my companion we moved to the beautiful bar to enjoy the tastings with the bar tender who himself invented the cocktails.

On arrival of my companion we moved to the beautiful bar to enjoy the tastings with the bar tender who himself invented the cocktails.

Tom Walker the recent recipient of Bacardi Legacy Award 2013 was the man to take us through a variety of 3 cocktails that he had invented to best showcase the Dewar’s stable of whiskeys. Tom explained to us that Dewars was representative of a lighter, softer blends of whiskey which makes them more accessible to the younger and even female palette, an that also lend themselves well to blending with other flavours and spirits in cocktails as well as drinking it in the traditional forms.

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So we began. The first cocktail we sampled in Toms Dewars True Scotch Collection was the Scotchlaw which Tom has said is “a riff on the Scofflaw a cocktail originally made with American whisky. The serve reflects a time when blended Scotch started to become popular in the USA, mainly thanks to the work of Tommy Dewar, at the end of the 19th Century. This was the same time that a liquor tax under the guise of ‘Raines Law’ was also introduced.” It is a beautifully velvety drink served in a Champagne coupe and was a real revelation to me, the whisky accent was light and well balanced and very moreish – if also very strong.v

It is a beautifully velvety drink served in a Champagne coupe and was a real revelation to me, the whisky accent was light and well balanced and very moreish – if also very strong.

Next up was the Raeburn Rickey. Tom has said “The name of this drink chimes with the surging popularity of classic Scotch cocktails named after famous national luminaries, such as the Rob Roy and Bobby Burns. This time our luminary is Henry Raeburn – a Scottish portrait painter that Tommy Dewar favoured. The use of lime and Drambuie create a drink that is refreshing and rich in equal measure.” Now this drinks well, almost too well! This is perfectly suited to sipping on a summer’s day something you wouldn’t usually think of a whiskey based drink but Tom appears to have nailed it. It is fresh enough with a whisper of whiskey, but nothing too heavy and a definite one to try at home for a summer tipple with a twist.

It is fresh enough with a whisper of whiskey, but nothing too heavy and a definite one to try at home for a summer tipple with a twist.

Last but by no means least we were again back to something looking distinctively classy and velvety in nature, nestled at home in a coupe. This raspberry coloured drink was called the RUBICON Tom says “This takes inspiration from the ‘Malecon’, a drink by Erik Lorincz. The Rubicon is a Scotch sour made with completely untraditional ingredients, specifically the lime and port. The bitters give the drink length, and the egg white provides body and texture. The name is a reference to the cross over into using alternative ingredients, and thus creating an alternative whisky sour.” This was so wonderfully drinkable, smooth and light with a light hint of Dewars wrapping deliciously around the taste buds. I could have drank a few more definitely and its something I would definitely endeavour to search out again.

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This was so wonderfully drinkable, smooth and light with a light hint of Dewars wrapping deliciously around the taste buds. I could have drank a few more definitely and its something I would definitely endeavour to search out again.

Tom managed to win my palate over that’s for sure and give me a real insight into the versitility of the spirit. He was clearly passionate about what he’d created and so he should be as he’d managed to bring out the whiskey drinker in me when I thought none existed. So my advice is to get dressed up, lipstick and heels on and get yourself down the American Bar. Tom is off to New York in a matter of weeks but I’m sure his legacy will continue and thanks to Tom I know what I’ll be ordering come next summertime. So good luck Tom in NY, thanks for blindsiding me into my new appreciation for Whiskey and for the rest of you – well what are you waiting for?!

Emma, Heart London Magazine

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