Tag Archives: Bourbon

On the Rocks – American Whiskey – Desi Shtyle

[vc_column width=”1/1″]I’ve heard that in some countries it’s known as the Devil’s share and not the Angel’s share. I’m referring to the liquid which evaporates each year from the casks in which it lies maturing, typically applying for spirits such as whisky, rum and cognac. In harsher climates such as India, the Caribbean and to my surprise even Kentucky, the loss of liquid can be higher than that in Scotland. Apart from the loss of liquid, maturation is also quicker – a year of maturation in a warmer climate takes Scotland 3/4 years to achieve because of the cold weather. That’s why the number of years of maturation is not given the importance for bourbon or Tennessee whiskey as it’s traditionally been given in Scotland. They know that maturation is not just a function of the number of years but of the weather and the interaction of the spirit with the wood because of it. Most American Whiskey will only put the years from 6 onwards.

Shatbhi Basu
Shatbhi Basu

Its nuggets of information like this (+ a lot of whiskey!) which drew me to an American whiskey appreciation evening with a difference, hosted by Shatbhi Basu, a doyenne of Indian bartending and currently ambassador for American whiskey in India. Shatbhi gets the evening started by getting us to rub our hands together with a four year old bourbon to see how just a few drops had an incredibly big fragrance which got could only get from a scotch that was 12 years and above. She even suggested that we could replace our regular aftershave with bourbon because it smells so good (might even be cheaper!)! What could be better than a sip and a splash![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Delhi Pavilion, ITC Sheraton’s spanking new venue, which pays tribute to Delhi’s heritage was the host venue this evening and Shatbhi had drawn upon the ingenuity of the Chefs there to pair a range of American whiskey’s with a set of Indian dishes, from the street food of Delhi to the Nawabi cuisine of Lucknow and she had in front of her, a ready set of 30 something guinea pigs.

Our first course was a chilled shot of Maker’s Mark bourbon served with a selection of typical Delhi chaat, a portion of Alu Tiki and a dahi bhalla served on a papri. The icing on the cake was the date perched on the rim of the glass. Bill Samuels Jr is the current President of Maker’s Mark and has a family tree which links back to the famous outlaws, Frank and Jesse James!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Next up was a cocktail concocted by Shatbhi, a chilled shot of Jack Daniel’s covered with a layer of citrus foam and served in an ice cold martini glass, all of this served with a  portion of fried fish. Delish! And if you thought Bill Samuel’s had a colourful history, then even if you tried you couldn’t come up with the story of how Jack Daniel’s is believed to have died! The story goes that he kicked his safe in anger, when he couldn’t remember the combination, which led to blood poisoning and his death! Jack Daniel’s has taken this gory fact and made it the basis of a sales promotion they run periodically wherein you need to guess the combination of Jack’s Safe, and the correct answer could get you a trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee, the home of Jack Daniel’s and a dry county to boot  🙂

JD and Fried Fish
JD and Fried Fish

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]From the Delhi fried fish we traveled south to a piece of lamb, Chettinad style, served with a Jim Beam & Pomegranate Sour (mixed up with fresh pomegranate juice and served in a champagne flute).

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]From Tamil Nadu to Lucknow, as we savoured a shot of cold Woodford Reserve infused with a hint of saffron, served straight up with a portion of galauti Kebab.. and my favourite touch was the slice of aam papad served with it. One of the finest bourbons from the house of Brown Forman, Woodford Reserve is handcrafted in small batches. The rich, fruity taste of the bourbon complemented the aam papad perfectly and was more than a match for the spicy galauti.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Our dessert was liquid, a chilled shot of Tennessee Honey (a blend of JD and Honey liqueur), served with a selection of traditional Indian desserts. And a decadent Choconut  Madness (bourbon blended with chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream) served smoked with a crisp brandy snap lid to hold the smoke.


Cocktail Time – 3 American Whiskey cocktails to beat the summer

Fruit & Mint Julep

Seasonal Fruit & Mint Julep
Seasonal Fruit & Mint Julep

This is for those who definitely want to taste their whiskey along with everything else. A twist on the official mint julep served at the Kentucky Derby, the fresh fruit makes it delightfully refreshing.

Glass: Old Fashioned


  • 45ml Bourbon or Tennessee
  • 2 slices orange
  • 4 fresh strawberries or 15ml strawberry puree*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (when using only fresh fruit)
  • 10 mint leaves

Garnish: Mint sprig/fresh seasonal fruit


  • Muddle sugar in glass to crush
  • Add mint leaves, fruit slices (or puree) and muddle with sugar
  • Fill glass with crushed ice
  • Pour in the whiskey and stir
  • Taste to adjust sweetness
  • Top with more crushed ice
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint

*Change fruits seasonally – use semi ripe mango, peaches, plums, pineapple as they come along in place of strawberry

Fred & Ginger

Such a cool summer refresher this. Very simple yet completely delicious with juicy orange and just a hint of ginger to lift it.

Glass: Long Drink

Fred & Ginger
Fred & Ginger


  • 45ml Bourbon
  • 100ml orange juice
  • 1 wedge of lime
  • Ginger ale to top

Garnish: slice of orange


  • Fill glass with ice
  • Pour in the bourbon and orange juice
  • Squeeze in wedge of lime & stir
  • Top with ginger ale
  • Garnish with a slice of orange

Summer Freeze

The perfect way to beat the blistering sun – this beautifully peachy slush spiked with fresh green mint and edgy Bourbon or Tennessee.

Glass: Margarita glass/Bavaria Glass


Summer Freeze
Summer Freeze
  • 45ml Bourbon or Tennessee
  • 45ml Manama peach-apricot crush
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 3-4 mint leaves

Garnish: mint sprig


  • Rim half the glass with salt
  • Fill the shaker half with crushed ice
  • Add all the ingredients and blend it until it becomes slushy
  • Pour it into salt rimmed glass
  • Garnish

By Shatbhi Basu

On the Rocks – There’s some Bourbon in my Scotch – Anand Chintamani

Yes sure there is. Especially if your favorite Malt tipple is a light Speyside dram or one of the well known, highly peaty Islay Whiskies!

Warehouse filled with whisky laden barrels
Warehouse filled with whisky laden barrels

The Bourbon and the Scotch whisky industry are highly symbiotic or shall I say the Scots actually lean heavily on the Americans! And no I am not talking about the referendum*.

Because bourbon legally has to be aged in brand-new barrels, distilleries can’t reuse them. Instead, many of them are shipped off to Scotch companies who give them a second life aging their own spirits. An estimated 90 % of Distilleries in Scotland use American Oak to age their whiskies, especially the ones in Spey & Islay!

When they’re shipped overseas, several gallons of bourbon—most estimates I’ve heard range from about three to five gallons—remain trapped in the wood. While the barrels are ripped open, to make newer ones for the Scotch industry, there’s still residual bourbon in them! This trapped bourbon mixes in with the Scotch during the aging process, and gives the spirit much of its flavor.

That Bourbon has to be aged in brand –new barrels is a due to an old law** that was passed in 1933 just when America was coming out of Prohibition.

The requirement the timber industry in America was in decline and this was a way to ensure the distilleries would have to order more wood. The use of new barrels is what gives Bourbon its signature flavor profile and makes it sweeter than other styles of whisk(e)y.

Aberlour Tasting_1024

So the next time you’re sipping your favorite Malt, look deep in! There is some bourbon lurking in there & not Nessie’ the Lochness Monster!

Anand Chintamani

*The Scottish Government intends to hold a referendum of the Scottish electorate, on the issue of independence from the United Kingdom, on Thursday 18 September 2014, we know that, don’t we?

**Want proof? See the US Code of Federal Regulations, 27 CFR § 5.22(b)(1)(i) and 5.22(b)(1)(iii)).