Hot on the heels of the Irish Whiskey Awards, this year's Whiskey Live Dublin was awash with new releases providing a snapshot of a thriving Irish whiskey industry.
Highlights included Tullamore DEW's fruity 14 Years Old Single Malt, Teeling's Rum Cask Finished 15 Years Old Revival, four surprising cask samples from Bushmills, new make spirit from John Teeling's Great Northern Distillery and a new addition to organiser Ally Alpine's own Celtic Cask Collection.
There were strong showings from all of the Irish independent bottlers and distilleries, both those with their own mature stock and those finishing and bottling stock purchased while they patiently wait for their own to reach maturity. Cocktail bars demonstrated the versatility of whiskey in cocktails, while some of Ireland's top food producers partnered with domestic and international distilleries to provide food pairings. From the excellent venison curry of Thai restaurant Koh paired with the Echlinville Distillery's Dunville's PX to sweetened coconut rice and mango alongside Power's Signature release, the pairings went beyond the well-worn pairings of cheese, smoked salmon and chocolate.
My recommendation for food and whisky pairing is to try the whisky, then the food, then another sip of the whisky again. The difference in first and second sips can be surprising.
Spiced chicken liver paté, saffron, apricot & heather honey compote and Glemorangie Nectar d’or
This pairing evokes the classic pairing of fois gras and Sauternes, borrowing inspiration from the wine barriques that Nectar D’Or is finished in. Paté is a dish best made in a well ventilated kitchen, you may wish to purchase a good quality plain chicken liver paté for the pairing instead. The whisky cuts through the fattiness of the paté, while the apricot and heather honey compote balances the rich grape sweetness of the whisky, providing depth to the pairing.
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 113g (1/4 pound) butter
- 225g (1/2 pound) chicken livers, rinsed and soaked in milk overnight and then proceed to strain
- 60ml cream
- 5g (1 tsp) salt
- pinch pepper
- ½ freshly ground whole nutmeg
Butter a loaf tin, or baking dish. You will also need a dish that is slightly larger than the chosen dish, for the bain-marie. Add one tablespoon of butter, onion and garlic to a saucepan over medium heat. Soften the onion and garlic without browning. Add cream and cook for a further three minutes. Add remaining butter to the pan.2.
Once melted, remove the pan from heat and pour the contents into a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Strain mousse through a fine mesh sieve and fill buttered loaf tin. 3.
Place loaf tin inside larger dish and fill larger dish with boiling water, until it comes halfway up the sides of the loaf tin. Bake for 20 minutes, or until just set. Refrigerate.
- 60g apricots, finely diced
- 30g golden raisins, minced (can be done in the food processor, or with a sharp knife)
- 60g heather honey
- zest and juice of ½ unwaxed lemon
- two strands of saffron (optional)
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat for ten minutes. Cool and store until needed. 2.
Serve paté on malty crackers, topped with a tea spoon of the compote and a glass of Nectar D’Or.