My mission: Sample ways the distilled spirits can be enjoyed warm. I shared it with two Iowans who deepened their appreciation for whiskey last winter at their neighborhood pub in Glasgow.
Manager Joe White, 32, admitted he serves whiskey drinks grudgingly at Royal Mile, 210 Fourth St. “Why would you mix it with anything? If you’re cold, have a glass of whiskey.” My companions nodded, noting that he was standing in front of the pub’s impressive wall of Scotch, 122 single-malt bottles from the world’s best distilleries. That said, we were days away from Iowa’s coldest month of the year — as compelling a reason as any to get creative.
White started with his grandma’s sore throat remedy, warming Maker’s Mark (any favorite will do) in a mug in a pot of steaming water. He added hot water, a twist of lemon zest and a dusting of cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and the nutmeg-based spice mace. Three thumbs up for Grandma. The drink, which looks like the tea my own granny used to serve, offered a seriously reassuring kick.
For this one, White warmed Jameson Irish Whiskey and added coffee, hazelnut-flavored Frangelico, chocolaty Baileys Irish Cream and rum-based Kahlua. Sounds like a flavor pile-up, but the whiskey’s kick kept it real. It was our first mug to go dry.
White created this one for bicyclists on Des Moines’ Tweed Ride last November, adding coffee and cream to the Rusty Nail, that Prohibition-era mix of Drambuie and Dewar’s Scotch whisky. We relished this one for its deep, strong, rich flavor.
White finished the tasting by sharing the last of his Powers 12 Year Old Special Reserve. “I don’t need warm whiskey to warm me up,” he said. “I need whiskey.” Smooth and creamy, it made his point — and reminded us that shorter days and colder climes have their perks.