A month’s worth of comings and goings in the world of The Whisky Exchange

Winter warmers are the order of the day, and I’m happy to say that, here at The Whisky Exchange, we have them in spades this month. From the fiery, fruity bite of one of our favourite American whiskies, to the warming spice of a craft Barbadian rum, our December roundup is tailor-made to warm your cockles and your palates in one fell swoop this Christmas. – Happy Holidays! 

Who we’re Visiting: Nocturnal Animals

Big fan of the 80s but fed-up of naff themed bars and blue cocktails? Head to Nocturnal Animals in Birmingham for a night out where everything that was great about the 80s – staff in Don Johnson-esque jackets, a Top of the Pops playlist, plenty of neon – meets a Japanese and Chinese inspired food menu and a bar team who really know how to go big on flavour. Head for afternoon tea, dinner or just drinks. Sounds a bit bonkers but trust me it works!

20 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5QJ

What we’re Mixing: Red Dragon

It’s hard to beat a decent rye Manhattan so I was a little unsure when someone recently suggested replacing my usual rye whiskey with rum but I’m so pleased I gave it a go. It will never replace the Manhattan but this Red Dragon is firmly in my cocktail repertoire now. A little dry curaçao with the chocolate and orange bitters bring out the rum’s dark chocolate and candied orange peel notes.

45ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva
15ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
5ml Dry curaçao
2 dashes Chocolate bitters
2 dashes Orange bitters

Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with cubed ice, stir for 30 seconds and pour into a chilled coupette. Garnish with struck matches for a little smoke & theatre.

What we’re Dramming: Michter’s Original US*1 Sour Mash

Every year The Whisky Exchange presents a group of customers with eight whiskies to taste blind and by voting for their favourites, the Whisky of the Year is decided. This year the accolade was awarded to Michter’s Original US*1 Sour Mash – a harmonious dram with plenty of rich fruit and sweet spice that’s guaranteed to please crowds and connoisseurs. And don’t be put off by the ‘sour’ reference. It’s simply the production method using yeast from a previous fermentation, akin to the method used for sourdough.

£49.95, thewhiskyexchange.com

Who we’re Following: @frombarreltobottle

A group of Canadian photographers with a passion for whisky who are definitely worth a follow…but perhaps not if you’re susceptible to major jealousy over people who live in stunning locations! Backdrops of beautiful Canadian vistas play host to whiskies from around the world. Insta-dram eat your heart out!

What we’re Drinking: Doorly’s 12 Year Old

It’s been a big year for rum and we think 2019 might see the continued rise of craft rum. This incredibly balanced and super-drinkable nectar is Doorly’s 12 Year Old from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados and it has been named as The Whisky Exchange’s Spirit of the Year for 2019. The liquid is a combination of both pot- and column-distilled spirit, aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-madeira casks and truly shows off master blender and distiller Richard Seale’s attention to detail when making rum. Rich, complex and a worthy winner.

£38.95, thewhiskyexchange.com

Words by Liz LOCK