Posts Tagged 3 drunken celts

The 3DC in the round…

Posted by on Tuesday, 1 April, 2008

So… While I work at getting all the photos from the Whiskies of the World event (attended by over 12 of the 3DC this weekend) in order and published, I figured I’d give you a fun sneak peak at the 3DC founders at the past 3 WOW events:

WOW, 2006. Our first time in SF for Whiskies of the World:

WOW, 2007. Year number 2; old hats by this point:

WOW, 2008. Year 3 and the dawn of a new era for the 3DC. This time we showed up with a posse (photo of the posse to come soon):

This year was indeed another milestone for the 3 Drunken Celts. My more lengthy blog will be posted at some point in the next week hopefully. I have a lot to do and say, both 3DC-wise and work-wise, which means I need to focus on my priorities for the moment and get some stuff caught up before I delve into a full blown picture rich recap of the Whiskies of the World… but hold tight, it IS coming.

Raz’s Whisky Barley Stew

Posted by on Monday, 10 December, 2007

Raz’s Whisky Barley Stew as Posted to the 3DC Site at www.3DrunkenCelts.com

Ingredients:

1 lbs cow meat (1/2″-3/4″ cubed)
1 onion (I used a yellow one, chopped course)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 turnip (1/2″ cubed)
2 good sized red potatoes (1/2″ cubed)
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt
3 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup whisky (should most likely be a full cup)
1 good splash Olive Oil
1 cup Pearled Barley
 

 

Directions:

Place Olive-Oil, Salt, Pepper and Garlic into a large stock pot and heat up a bit.

Add the Onion and Meat. Brown until onion begins to caramelize (5 min for me)

Deglaze the pot with the whisky, being careful to not expose the liquor to open flame.

Add the water, beef broth, turnip, potato, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer (covered) for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Check the moisture level. If the stew has thickened considerably, add water at this point to ensure the barley will cook properly and to get the consistency you prefer in a soup or stew.

Add Pearled Barley and simmer (covered) for an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring regularly. It’s done when the barley is soft all the way through.

Eat. Enjoy. Blog about it…

 

 

Raz’ Notes:

  1. Adding some highland whisky in at the browning section would probably be really good. If you try the whisky addition let me know how it comes out.
  2. This is based on a Scotts recipe I found on the web. I changed a few things, most notably adding the spuds because spuds are good.
  3. Towards the last 15 minutes the broth had become quite thick so I added a half cup of water and stirred it in. The original recipe called for 1 ½ cups of water.

 

Seamus’ Notes:

  1. I added 1 tsp dried Thyme, 1/2 cup Caol Ila 18yr. Scotch, an additional 1 1/2 cups water
  2. Use the Scotch to deglaze after caramelizing the onions and meat. Add the water/broth/etc. only after deglazing with the whiskey. 1/2 cup of scotch may be too little. Next time I will add a full cup and see how that fares.
  3. A bay leaf should probably be added next time. If this is done, put it in when the initial water is added.
  4. Following the directions, I added 2 1/2 cups of water at the beginning, and then found it necessary to add another cup of water when the barley went in to ensure proper saturation. This is a full 2 cups more than the original recipe.
  5. I added an Islay Scotch (Caol Ila 18yr.), not a highland. After cooking off the iodine nose, the end result was a fairly mild smokiness without any sweetness added by the whisky. Next time round, I think I will try adding a Balvenie to try and capture the sweetness too.
  6. I’d recommend using only potato OR only turnips. Using both increased the amount of food substantially and tended to make the dish a bit more complex. Next time, I think I will remove the potato and use only turnips for a more accurate representation and to simplify the dish.

Pictures of the process…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seamus’ Opinionated Guide to buying Whiskies as Gifts…

Posted by on Thursday, 29 November, 2007

Just in time for the holidays! As posted to www.3DrunkenCelts.com

Are you close to a Whiskey, Whisky, or Scotch lover? Do you want to get them the perfect bottle as a holiday gift? Do you have no idea how to shop for a bottle of whiskies?

Because of my love for whiskies and my involvement with the 3 Drunken Celts, I am often asked for suggestions as to which bottle would be a good gift for a friend, family member, or boss. To this end I present: “Seamus’ Opinionated Guide to buying Whiskies as Gifts”

 
When accosted for a recommendation, my initial response is: “Find a bottle of ‘The Balvenie’ which suits your price point and buy it. You won’t go wrong…”

However, I have found that not everyone is as enamoured with the distillery as I am (cough, Raz, cough). So in a vain attempt to help out those recipients who don’t always prefer The Balvenie, I will attempt to provide some basic guidelines to choosing a suitable bottle as a gift. (If you just want Seamus’ top picks for each price point, scroll to the bottom past all the drivel in between…)

Ok, if you are still with me, let’s get to the substance of this article:

First and foremost, figure out what your price point is. There is no use finding the perfect bottle, only to realize it is way out of your range. Price can be used as a general guideline: the more costly, odds are it will be better than the cheaper stuff. But don’t let that get you down; there are some GREAT whiskies on the market which far outshine their lower price points. Just remember, there ARE deals to be had! Find some whiskies in the price range you are comfortable with, and then begin narrowing down from there.

Like price, Age is also a decent guideline where the older is typically better. On general principal a 21 year old whisky will be smoother than a 10 year old whisky. This guideline, however, tends to only stand up within the same distillery. Once you begin comparing differing distilleries and differing ages, the guideline begins to break down with too many exceptions.

When using Age as a guideline, it is also best to add Region in as well. You may well find a great 22yr Single Malt, only to discover it is from a region known for its brine when your recipient prefers peat.

If at all possible, you should try to determine of the recipient has any specific preferences when it comes to his/her whiskies. If so, you have it easy… stick with those preferences. Straying from a preferred distillery/region can be a risky venture as most connoisseurs are quite particular with their drams.

Assuming that the recipient has no particular preferences, you’ll have your work cut out for you. At the least, try to determine if he/she likes the smoky, peaty, briny, or sweeter whiskies. This will help you narrow down to a smaller regional subset and progress from there.

Some general regional characteristics to help you along the way:

Highlands – Arguably the most popular region appealing to the widest range of tastes including peat, brine, and smoke.

Speyside – A very popular and quite prolific region. Sweet, delicately complex; some with a refined smokiness, some with fruity finishes.

Islay (pronounced “Eye-la”) – Gives the Highlands a run at most popular. Challenging, Peat, brine, smoke and sometimes a tinge of salty seaweed

Skye and Orkney – Similar in character to the Islays but tend to be softer on the pallet. The Peat on the Orkneys is from heather which imparts a honey like flavor.

Lowlands – This region no longer boasts the copious number of distilleries as it once did. Soft, smooth and mild. A little of the peat and brine of the Highland malts, but much more subtle.

Campbeltown – This also use to be a prolific region, but is now in rarity. Slightly briny but not as aggressive as the Islay malts.

Irish – Not as popular as Scotch malts but this is a developing malting region its blends are quite popular. Distinguished by the un-malted barley used along with malted barley. Smooth, complex and frequently with some fruity flavor. Once known for peated whiskies, this is rarely done now.

Bourbon – From the Bourbon County, KY area of the US. Sour, sweet and smoky

American – Not from the Bourbon County area. Many are quite new to the market place with varying differences in flavours.

Assuming you have a set price range, you can really start narrowing down your selection set based on Age/Year, region, and the particular palette imparted by each bottling. Of course none of this can take the place of experience (i.e. sampling and knowing how each tastes); but if you knew already, then you wouldn’t need this guide would you?

At this point the internet is your best friend. You can find some great tasting notes on darn near any bottle ever produced! Start your searches on some on-line liquor retailer websites to find the bottles in your price range, and then do a few Google searches to find tasting notes and ratings on each. You should have a short-list selection in no time. From there, either order your choice from one of the sites who will ship to you (even with shipping you can get some wonderful deals on the internet), or take your list to your local purveyor of spirits to fill your order.

Now, it seems that even after I espouse my diatribe above, people still look at me and ask “…well that’s fine and all, but what do YOU recommend?”. I have two answers to that question:

1. If you are asking this question, then you haven’t understood a word I have said. Whiskies are a complicated thing and can be very personal for each drinker. You are best to follow the advice above, lest you buy a bottle which doesn’t meet the recipient’s desires…

2. If you are still going to demand a particular bottle recommendation, and were buying said bottle for MY palette, here you go:

 

Seamus’ Top Picks by Price Point (2 bottles each category):

$250 and higher: 

The Balvenie 25 year  /  Bowmore 35yr

$120 – $249:     

The Balvenie 21yr Port Wood / Edradour 22yr Port Wood

 

$100 – $119:     

Midleton Very Rare / Compass Box Hedonism

 

$75 – $99:       

Compass Box Flaming Heart / GlenRothes 1987

 

$50 – $74:      

Oban 14yr / GlenRothes 1991 14yr

 

$30 – $49:       

Sheep Dip / Knappogue Castle 1992

 

$10 – $29:       

Aberlour 10yr / John, Mark, & Robbo’s The Rich Spicy One

 

Other picks…

For the Bourbon lover: Bulleit Bourbon is an amazing distillation, which at $15 can’t be beat at all!

For a fun grab-bag type surprise, choose any Bruichladdich bottling (pronounced ‘brook’- ‘law’-‘day’). NONE are the same and will challenge the connoisseur’s palette and expectations. You never know what you’re going to get!