Have you ever been to a tasting? I’ve been to many – and I liked every one. I enjoy wine tastings, particularly at wineries and vineyards in California, New York State and Mendoza, Argentina! Each one is different, and there’s always a distinct ambiance and camaraderie cultivated by the host with the guests. I’ve also been to Wine Tastings at the Brooklyn Winery (see, A Beautiful Winery Grows in Brooklyn) and a White Bordeaux and Seafood menu at Cafe Tallulah. And then there was an amazing Sake Tasting sponsored by the Newswomen’s Club of New York.
I’ve also attended some rather gala tasting events organized by specific brands of liquor, such as whiskey, scotch, gin, vodka or tequila. They are each different, but always great fun. There’s always an interesting host who takes you on a journey through the history of the spirit, sharing many interesting vignettes along the way.
My 2 favorite tastings were Hendrick’s Gin (the most extravagant trippy party atmosphere ever!) and Milagro Tequila (a smaller group where we were given all of the ingredients to make 4 different variations of margaritas). Tastings usually also offer some amount of food (gotta soak up all that liquor!).
Tuesday’s tasting was sponsored by Balvenie, and it was held at Chelsea Market. As is typical with single malt scotch whisky tastings, you are given samples of different crafts, ranging in age (and price) from the newest to the most aged. Before being shown into the smaller room for the formal tasting session, we strolled around a larger room, where there were a few snacks and samples.
There were about 40 of us in the “class” seated at four long tables. There were three glasses in front of each person and we were guided through the history of each. We were made to feel like we were in the Scottish Highlands perhaps strolling though the malting floor or standing next to Balvenie’s resident coppersmith keeping careful watch over the stills. We rolled the liquor around our mouths, added water and tasted the difference, and of course learned about the different casks and distillations methods used.
At the end of the session, we were shown an elongated copper flask on a copper chain, which we were told the employees used to siphon off some of the whisky for themselves. We each took a turn filling this flask!