Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm back from Hawaii!

As I mentioned in this post, my wife and I went to Hawaii for our long-delayed honeymoon.  The vacation was fantastic!  We went to two islands: Oahu and Maui, and did a range of activities from Pearl Harbor, lying down on the sands on Waikiki Beach, hiking a volcanic crater, scuba diving, snorkelling, shark cage diving, surfing, horseback riding, helicopter ride, lounging around the hotels' pool, and of course drinking lots of colorful cocktails. 

It's sad to leave the place, but it is time to return to reality.  I thank all readers that remained loyal in this period of absence.  As I recover from jet lag and Hawaiian time, I will return to the usual regular posting on this blog.  In the meantime, here are pictures of some of the cocktails that we drank on the trip.  Bottoms up, my friend.

                                                                Mai Tai - at the Mai Tai Bar, where the drink was invented.

                                                                                          Lava Flow

                                                                                     Blue Hawaiian

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A new milestone is reached on SimplyScotches today...we have 300 followers to this blog!  This is, quite simply, unbelievable and mind-blowing, and could not be achieved without the support of each and everyone of you. 

Thank you!

Monday, February 14, 2011


After 9 months of getting married (May 2010), my wife and I are finally going for our honeymoon!  We will be in Hawaii for two weeks, and chances to update this blog while we are there may be limited.  But don't worry, this blog will be back in full swing once I am back.  In the meantime, keep it classy, and bottoms-up my friend. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My home bar and scotch collection

I recently installed a home-bar in my house, and thought it would be a good opportunity to share some pics of the bar, as well as my scotch collection:

                                                                           Overview of the home bar
My scotch collection
                                                                                    From the side
                                                              Chivas Regal 18                                                          Chivas Regal 12
                                                                                 Glenlivet 12 and 15

Johnnie Walker Black, Green and Gold Label

                                                Macallan 15, Talisker 10, Oban 14 and Highland Park 12

                                                                          J&B Rare and Dewar's White Label

It is happy hour somewhere in the world: bottoms-up my friend

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Does food pairs well with scotch?

The most popular pairing of scotch is with your favorite cigar.  But a question I find myself asking is: does scotch pairs well with food?

Well, general opinion is that scotch is too strong in flavor and in alcohol to go well with food.  It is usually a delight refrained from until after dinner.  Even in Scotland, the birthplace of Scotch, there isn't much of a tradition of drinking a dram with dinner.

However, if you are a scotch fan, and would rather not wait until after dinner to start drinking, here are some pairing suggestions: 

A rare and certainly unique discovery of mine is that scotch goes well with sushi.  The flavors from both complements each other well, without either side being too overpowering. 

I like having salmon with my scotch.  A rich fish meeting a rich scotch, the smoky flavors of the drink adds a new dimension to the salmon. 

Steaky fish like Mahi-Mahi or swordfish works well too. 

Red meats, like grilled steak or broiled lamb, make good partners with scotch.  Steakhouse food, with bold but simple flavors, are generally good choices as they cannot compete with the smoky undertones of the scotch.  Be careful adding garlic and scotch together, as their flavor tends to clash. 

I don't really favor drinking scotch with desert, as the sweetness may be too distracting.  That said, chocolate-based deserts work reasonably well here.  Certainly try to avoid eating too much desert while drinking your scotch if you desire to get the most out of the drink.

Dig in, and bottoms-up my friend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scotch cocktails

Unlike vodka, scotch is not typically associated with cocktails.  True devotees of scotch will never even consider drinking scotch in the form of a cocktail. 

That said, not all of us are true devotees. There might be some people out there who are interested in what kind of cocktails that are made with scotch as its base.  It is sadly true that there are not many scotch cocktails out there, but I selected a few of the more popular drinks and cocktails made with scotch whisky.  Enjoy!

Rusty Nail:
A sophisicitated after dinner drink.  Top it with a lemon twist and enjoy!

  • 1 measure of Scotch
  • 1 measure of Drambuie (scotch-based liqueur)
  • 1 twist lemon peel
  •  Ice to taste

Clansman's Coffee:
A classic Celtic coffee.
  • 25ml measure of Scotch
  • Dash of Sambuca
  • Black Coffee
  • Add sugar to taste; float whip cream on top
  • Decorate with grated chocolate

Green Mist:
A minty mix of scotch and creme de menthe, adorned with a slice of kiwi fruit.
  • 25ml measure of Scotch
  • 1 measure of creme de menthe
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • Decorate with a slice of kiwi and a sprig of mint

Whisky Sour:
The sourness of the lemon, the sweetness of the sugar and the spirit of the Scotch combine to give the perfect balance.
  • 2 measures of Scotch
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar
  • Serve with a dash of soda water

Rob Roy:
A scotch version of the popular Manhattan cocktail.
  • 1/2 measure of Scotch
  • 1/2 measure of dry Italian Vermouth
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a cherry

As always, bottoms up my friend.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Godiva Chocolate Martini

Judging from the overwhelming responses from the vodka-related post, I thought I will take  a minute away from scotch and show you one of my wife's and my favorite drink, and a guarantee hit with girls: the Godiva Chocolate Martini.

What you will need:
Vodka - I favor Ketel One vodka here for its smoothness and drinkability.
Godiva Chocolate Liqueur - A rich chocolate liqueur based on Godiva chocolates.
White Creme de Cacao - A colorless chocolate-flavored liqueur made from the cacao seed.

Measure out 1.5oz vodka, 2oz Godiva chocolate liqueur and 3 oz  of white creme de cacao.  Add a dash skim milk if you prefer to give it a smoother consistency.  If you prefer your martini shaken and not stirred like I do, pour everything into a shaker and shake it up.  Keep it classy.

Take your martini glasses and squirt some chocolate syrup along the walls of the glass. 

Proceed to pour the martini into the glass.  Lean back and enjoy this delicious drink you just made. 
                                                                                      Bottoms up my friend

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vodka vs. Scotch - a drink for different occasions

When it comes to alcoholic drinks, I am not an elitist.  I like scotch, and found myself developing an interest in appreciating it, but that does not mean I ONLY drink scotch.  Today, I am going to talk about Vodka, one of the world's most popular liquors, and my opinion between the two alcohol. 

But first, a little background knowledge about vodka.  The drink originated from Russia in the 14th century.  Its name is derived from "Voda", which is the Russian word for water. 

One of the things paid extra attention to when making vodka is the purity of the water used.  The purer the water used to make the drink, the better it is.  This is why you often hear the top vodka producers advertising they "triple distilled" their water in an attempt to eradicate every impurity from the final product. 

The main reason for vodka's popularity is because of its versatility.  It is generally smoother compared to scotch.  A lot of drinks have a vodka base; vodka can be mixed with most mixers like orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, milk, Kahlua or soda.  Vodka has been the most popular selling spirit in the United States for some time now, and has all but replaced gin as the base in Martinis. 

                                                                                   Vodka Martini

Vodka, to put it simply, is ethanol and water.  It is generally odourless and flavorless, and lacks "character".  Scotch, on the other hand, is aged in wood barrels for anywhere between 3 - 50 years to develop that oak-y flavor.  The steps in scotch production tries to maximize flavor components in order to give the drink that distinct "character", and is significantly more complex than that of vodka's.

So which drink is "better"?  Well, it depends on what the occasion is.  If you are partying with friends in a bar or at a house-party, vodka is the clear leader here.  Cocktails such as Cosmopolitan, martini, long island tea, white and black Russians are all made with vodka. 

Go for a nice scotch if you are in a more formal ambiance, or when you are in a situation where you can really take the time to appreciate the drink instead of chugging it down.  You can do shots with vodka, whereas scotch is more suitable for sipping and savoring. 

On a personal note, I like drinking vodka in the form of cocktails.  But I can never, ever drink it neat.  That's receipe for throwing up for me. 

Fun fact: even though both scotch and whisky are 80-proof in alcohol content, over-drinking on whisky will give you a worse hangover than vodka according to a study by researchers from Brown University

Whatever your choice of drink is, bottoms-up my friend.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Old School Scotch Ads

Here are some vintage, good old-fashion scotch ads that I came across. 

It is interesting, though perhaps not too surprising, to note that scotch, at one time was marketed almost exclusively to the male audience.  Quite often, it seems that men of means or wealth are depicted in the ads, and thus creating an elitist view on the drink.   

As a footnote, I would like to extend my thanks to all those who contributed with ideas on topics to write about.  Your voice is heard. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What do you want to see?

Now that I have covered several of the basics that is related to scotch, what do you, as the reader, want to see me touch upon?  Any and all suggestions will be taken into consideration, and much appreciated.

In the meantime, stay thirsty my friend.