Episode 094 - Tour of Islay (Part II)

Tour of Islay Part II Adam Safir Banner.jpg

What’s shakin, cocktail fans?

Welcome back to another episode of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!

This time around, we’re continuIng our liquid tour of Islay with Scotch Whisky enthusiast Adam Safir of the DC Islay Scotch Society. So if you haven’t already checked out Episode 093, we’d recommend doing so. It’s got a ton of great information about Scotch, as well as an exhaustive list of the bottles we nose and sample throughout both episodes.

Adam Safir of the DC Islay Scotch Society

Adam Safir of the DC Islay Scotch Society

In this Part II of our spirited tour of Islay with scotch enthusiast Adam Safir, some of the things we discuss in this episode include:

  • How a new distillery has changed the Islay landscape for the first time in over 100 years

  • Why non-age statement whiskies may be on the rise, and how to approach bottles that don’t have age statements.

  • A bit of discussion about various barrel finishes, including rum and sherry casks.

  • How to decide when a particular bottle isn’t living up to its potential

  • What language you need to learn if you want to know who adds caramel coloring to their Scotch whisky

  • And much, much more

You can learn more about the DC Islay Scotch Society by visiting their Facebook page, and you can also check out organizations like The Whisk(e)y Library DC and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Featured Cocktail: The Godfather

This week’s featured cocktail is The Godfather cocktail. As with so many Scotch cocktails, the point of the Godfather is to enhance the flavor of the scotch with one simple ingredient - in this case, a sweet liqueur called Amaretto.

To make this drink, you’ll need:

  • 2 oz Scotch whisky (again, you can go with a blended product, but we like using a single malt)

  • And ½ - ¾ oz of Amaretto Liqueur, which you should dial to the correct level for your personal flavor preferences.

This cocktail is so simple that you could certainly build it right in the glass and just give it a quick stir, but for the purposes of dilution, I’d recommend combining the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stirring for about 15-20 seconds, and straining into a rocks glass over a single, large cube.

If you look at the word, it’s got the same base as Amaro, but it’s not nearly as bitter. In fact, the suffix of the word “etto” is an Italian diminutive, meaning “little,” so roughly translated, Amaretto means “little bitter.” It’s made using either almonds or the pits of stone fruit like apricots - and if this sounds familiar, it’s because Maraschino liqueur, another popular cocktail ingredient, is made in much the same way, but using the pits of the Marasca cherry.

One final warning - if you do a little research on the Godfather cocktail recipe, you’ll notice that pretty much every recipe on the first page of the Google search results has a different ratio of whisky to Amaretto. Some call for 2 oz of whisky  ⅛ oz of Amaretto, which is a 16:1 ratio, and some recipes call for a 1:1 ratio - equal parts of each ingredient.

With such an absurd amount of variation, the recipe we have over on the show notes page reflects what normal people with normal palates would expect in a balanced cocktail, but hey - if you’re the kind of lunatic who wants to ruin your whisky with an ounce and a half of Amaretto, go for it - just don’t offer us any.

Lightning Round

Answers to follow soon!