April 22, 2017

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Understanding the History of Whiskey Drinking Glasses

Discover the Long History of the Whiskey Glass

For as long as whiskey has existed, distillers have been using different woods and casks to create unique flavors and profiles. In order for people to truly enjoy these whiskeys and their unique profiles, glassblowers have been creating different styles of drinking glasses designed to help people experience the flavors. The Glencairn glass is of course the most famous whiskey drinking cup, but there have been many varieties developed over the years, and there is an extensive history behind the glasses we use to this day. 

A 16th Century Story

The story of whiskey drinking vessels starts in the 16th Century, with a wooden cup. These small wooden cups were used to drink Scotch whiskey, and they slowly began to change. During the 1500s, the only cup used to drink whiskey was known as a quiach, which was derived from ‘cuach’ – a Gaelic word that simply meant ‘cup’. The design looked a lot like a shallow bowl, and it was constructed from wooden staves and had small handles on both sides. 

At this point, different craftsmen started to create different styles of quiach, slowly changing the style of the handles and, over time, changing the form of the glass entirely. Eventually, craftsmen would use lighter and darker woods, which created patterns on the cups, and eventually, they began embellishing the cups with silver. Every craftsmen would create something totally unique, in an attempt to capture the imagination of those who bought and used the quiaches.

The silver quiaches were eventually engraved with patterns, and in some instances even designed to replicate the appearance of wood. The bowls became statement pieces, and played an important role in the social gatherings that usually accompanied whiskey drinking. During the 17th Century, a “quiachfull” of whiskey –enough for one gulp ­– was served once at the beginning of a social event, and once at the end. 

A 19th Century Replacement

It was in the 19th Century that the tradition of using a wide and flat quiach to drink whiskey changed. During this century, a new drinking vessel appeared that challenged the traditional drinking cup – the tumbler. Made out of glass, this drinking vessel was able to be mass produced and sold to a wider market. The cost of a drinking glass was cut significantly, and more people began using them and, of course, serving whiskey in them. 

After the tumbler revolution of the 19th Century, even more kinds of glasses began to be made. Over a quarter of a century, a wide range of glassware was developed, and it was joined by an increase in whiskey-drinking as a whole. In the next century, and by the 1990s, interest in malt whiskey had improved, and the focus was placed on glasses that enhanced the flavor of the whiskey. 

A Recent Boom in Whiskey Glass Variety

As more people became interested in single malt whiskey, different kinds of glasses were designed and to enhance the drinker’s experience. Enjoying the flavor was suddenly more important than ever, and so that meant experiencing, noting, and deconstructing flavor profiles into constituent parts. Just a matter of decades ago, the Reidel single malt whiskey glass made its debut. It was in 1992 that a panel of whiskey experts came together at the Riedel headquarters in Austria to test a variety of new glasses. 

A selection of 18 different glasses, each with a unique shape, was presented to the experts. After the panel provided their feedback, Georg Riedel researched the importance of the shape of whiskey glasses, meeting with master distillers throughout Scotland. What resulted was a glass that was based on a truncated stem, with an elongated, thistle-shaped body. The glass, known as the vinum, has since become a popular whiskey drinking vessel. 

The Glencairn glass, which is not only the most famous whiskey drinking glass but also a popular groomsmen gift, has a similarly recent history. First entering production in 2001, the glass was developed by the Glencairn Crystal company, designed by Raymond Davidson, the director of the firm. The shape was inspired by traditional nosing copitas, which have long been used in whiskey labs throughout Scotland. The shape of the glass allows the user to experience the full flavor profile by letting only the harsh alcoholic vapors escape. 

The glass was quickly picked up by whiskey experts from all over Scotland, and master blenders from five of the biggest whiskey firms in the country confirmed their love of the new drinking vessel. It was at the very start of the 21st Century that the whiskey glass changed the whiskey industry. 

Modern Design for a Classic Spirit

Today, you can pick up your very own Glencairn glass from SipDark. It’s ideal for the modern whiskey lover, or even as a girlfriend or boyfriend’s birthday gift. As well as a pair of classic Glencairn glasses, you can also pick up the Glencairn Flight Set. This set of three Glencairn glasses come with a luxury lacquered wood plate with felt place holders, allowing you to easily transport multiple glasses at the same time. To top it off, you can even add custom image and text engraving. 

Raymond Davidson, founder of Glencairn, recalled the launch of his whiskey glass with whiskey enthusiasts and writer, Ian Wisniewski: 

“We initially launched the Glencairn glass at Whisky Live in 2001, with 1,500 hand-made glasses. It was really well received, and we decided to go into full-scale production. That was a big commitment for a small company. Designing and producing the glass, using our in-house design department, was expensive, but the biggest investment is the marketing to promote it.”


Since the launch, the Glencairn glass has become a must-have piece for any whiskey lover. Those who truly love whiskey will appreciate the perfect weight in the hand, the comfortable curves, and the shape which makes nosing and flavor profiling a breeze.

April 19, 2017

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How You Can Spot a Quality Single Malt

Tips for Beginners to Spot a Quality Single Malt

Teach Yourself the Art of Spotting a Good Single Malt

Becoming knowledgeable about whiskey might seem like an extremely difficult task for anyone with only a basic understanding of the spirit – what, with all the talk of flavor, notes, and profiles. For anyone really keen to learn, however, there are some key things to understand about whiskey that can lay the foundations for you to become an expert (or at least a very well-informed amateur!). 

It’s time to get out your favorite Glencairn glass, have the cigar rest at the ready, and learn the basics of whiskey so you can spot the best single malts. 

Understanding Flavor Profiles

The term “profile” is used to explain the varying flavors and characteristics of a whiskey. There are four popular flavor profiles. 

1. Smoky 

A single malt with a smoky profile will give off spicy, warm, and smoky flavors. Think of burned wood or smoked meat, and compare these dark, spicy flavors with a glass of single malt. 

2. Rich 

A rich profile will be bold and full of flavor. Think of an extremely rich chocolate cake, and compare that flavor and sensation with the taste you get from your single malt. 

3. Delicate 

A whiskey with a delicate profile has subtle flavors, making it easy to drink and enjoy. Delicate profiles will typically have a sweeter flavor, with subtle floral and nutty hints. 

4. Light 

A light whiskey will have fruity, nutty, and even grassy notes, leaving a fresh feeling in the mouth. 

Over time, these descriptors will come to you more naturally. These are almost instinctual responses to the single malt whiskeys that you will drink, and the difference between these flavor profiles will become increasingly evident over time. 

Where Whiskey Gets its Woody Flavors

Wood plays a hugely important role in the creation of quality whiskeys. When the spirit is first made, it’s known as “new make.” This is a whiskey that has been reduced in strength, and which has yet to be aged in a cask. 

The casks used by the distillers will determine the flavors of the whiskey. Not only does the type of wood play a part in developing intriguing flavors, but so does the other booze that was previously held in the cask! 

A quality single malt will have flavors taken from the sherry or bourbon that was previously held in the wooden casks. 

Know the Age

The age of your whiskey can determine quality. It’s a classic husband gift – an aged whiskey, in a dusty bottle that has just been waiting to be opened on a special occasion. However, the age of a bottle is doesn’t always determine how great it tastes. 

You should look for anything that has been aged for between 10 and 15 years. This is typically a suitable amount of time for a single malt to develop complexity and a range of flavors. 

If you’re looking for a truly high quality single malt, be sure to consider all of these factors.
April 14, 2017

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3 Amazing Ways to Cook With Whiskey

3 Epic Recipes for Whiskey Lovers

Whiskey lovers already know that there are some whiskies that go well with certain kinds of foods – but did you know that there are ways you can actually incorporate whiskey into your cooking?

Just as you might do with wine, you can use whiskey as an ingredient in a wide range of savory and sweet dishes, adding new elements of flavor and giving your dinner a real kick.

These Recipes Go Great with Good Whiskey

Naturally, SipDark encourages you to enjoy a fine glass of whiskey while you cook – so as you gather your ingredients, be sure to break out the Glencairn glass, your soapstone whiskey stones, and a bottle of your favorite Scotch. Your cooking experience will never get more enjoyable than this!

1. Whiskey Cream

Whiskey Cream is a delicious addition to your dessert. It goes fantastically with rich desserts like Christmas cake or fruit cake. For these kinds of cakes, consider soaking the fruit in alcohol before serving.

To make whiskey cream, you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon of icing sugar
  • 1 carton of double cream
  • 1 tablespoon of whiskey

Take your carton of double cream, which should be at least 280ml, and pour it into a large bowl. Then, simply add your whiskey and icing sugar, and whip it up using a whisk. Hand whisk, or use a mechanical whisk until the cream becomes thick like whipped cream. Mix until the whiskey and icing sugar has been evenly distributed throughout it.

This will create a rich and sweet cream that can be used with a huge range of desserts.

2. Sticky Whiskey Ribs

If you love ribs, then you’ll love this sticky, glazed ribs recipe. You’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of whiskey
  • 3 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce
  • 150g of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 150g of ketchup
  • 140g of chili ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons of barbecue spice mix
  • 2kg of individual ribs

Start by heating your oven to 160 degrees C, and put your ribs in a big bowl. This bowl will be the place in which you glaze your ribs before they are cooked. Add the barbecue spice mix to the bowl and cover your ribs all over. Place the ribs on a metal rack and then cook in the oven for an hour, until they appear browned.

While the ribs are cooking, you can make your whiskey glaze. You’ll need a sauce pan where you’ll add all your remaining ingredients. Stir everything together in a pan and simmer for five minutes until you see the sauce becoming thick and sticky. Don’t boil the mixture, as you will ruin the consistency.

Once your ribs have browned in the oven, remove them and then increase the heat to 200 degrees C. Pick up the piping hot ribs using barbecue tongs, and dip them individually within the glaze. Place your ribs back on the metal rack, using a metal baking tray underneath it to ensure you aren’t dripping sauce on your worktops or in the oven.

When the ribs have been coated, put them back in the oven for 10 minutes or more, until the glazing is sticky and hot. Remove the ribs and serve however you like – ideally next to a Glencairn glass full of your favorite whiskey!

3. Irish Apple Tart

An Irish apple tart is a delicious dessert that takes a little longer to cook than glazed ribs! To make your own apple tart, you will need:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 280ml of whipping cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 250g of demerara sugar
  • 5kg of cooking apples (cored and peeled)
  • 100ml of Irish whiskey
  • 200g of raisins or sultana

For the pastry:

  • 500g of plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g of sugar
  • 250g of butter

For the savory sugar:

  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 10g of sea salt
  • 140g of muscovado sugar

To make your savory sugar, you’ll need to heat the oven to 140 degrees C. Take a baking tray and add baking paper to it. Scatter your sugar on the baking sheet, and add the sea salt and zest of lemon. Place this in the oven for a quarter of an hour, which will dry it out. Once you have removed it and let it cool, add the contents into a blender and then pass it through a sieve to get rid of any lumps. This creates your savory salt.

To create the pastry, place the butter and flour into a food processor until it creates a breadcrumb-like texture. Now, add your eggs and sugar, and switch on the food processor until you have a smooth pastry dough. Take the pastry and wrap it in plastic film before leaving it in the refrigerator to chill.

Take a saucepan and add the raisins, whiskey, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, and then leave it to the side.

Slice your apples into wedges, place butter in a sauce pan, and cook the apples in the melting butter. Add half of the demerara sugar as well as the cinnamon stick, and a dash of whiskey – how much is up to you! Cook the apples for an additional four minutes until they have taken on plenty of color, and then drain the apples to get rid of excess fluid.

Next, turn your oven to 160 degrees C. Take out a baking ring (around 30cm), and grease it. Roll out 2/3 of your pastry to around 3mm and chill for 20 minutes. Prick the pastry using your fork and blind make for 10 minutes.

Then, brush the pastry with a beaten egg and bake for another five minutes. Keep repeating this process until it’s perfect, then leave the pastry to cool in the baking ring. When it’s cooled, then add the mixture of raisins and apples, and roll out a pastry top for the tart, and secure with egg wash. Turn up your oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 20 minutes, until your tart is golden.
April 12, 2017

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The Perfect Groomsman Gifts for a Whiskey-Loving Best Man

 

So your wedding is around the corner, and you’ve asked your closest friend to be your best man. Great!

Not only will your best man be there to support you on your big day, he’ll be giving a speech and reminding your guests of your life as a single man.

It’s a very important role in a wedding, and traditionally, a best man is thanked by the groom with groomsmen gifts.

If your groomsman is a whiskey lover, then there are some great ideas you can consider. SipDark has some great whiskey accessories available to make your groomsmen gift feel truly personal.

1. Engraved Groomsman Gifts

SipDark provides a custom engraving service, meaning you can purchase some of the very best whiskey drinking accessories and complement them with a personal engraving. This unique touch will makes this gift a lasting and meaningful present for your best man.

The custom engraved loball whiskey sphere is ideal for your groomsman to chill his whiskey without damaging flavor and taste.

The custom engraving service can also be used on SipDark’s famous whiskey bullets. These are steel whiskey chillers in the shape of a bullet that come in sets of three or six.

2. Decanters

Every whiskey lover needs a quality decanter. These are one of the best groomsman gifts you can offer, as they not only serve an useful purpose, but they can be displayed nicely in an office, dining room or kitchen. They provide years (or decades) of useful life.

Decanters aren’t difficult to find, either. You’ll find a huge range of glass or crystal decanters in specialist whiskey stores, and you can even include a number of quality glasses to create the ultimate glass or crystal whiskey set.

3. Hip Flask

A Hip Flask is a traditional gift that whiskey lovers will enjoy for many years.

A quality hip flask will come with metal stoppers and funnels to make it easy to replace the whiskey in the flask. A metal hip flask will do the job, but if you’re willing to spend more, you can purchase stunning leather-clad hip flasks.

Whiskey lovers may already own a hip flask, so if you do decide to purchase one, consider getting it engraved or choosing an extra special and high quality piece. If you do decide to get one engraved, consider engraving their name or initials onto the flask. No need to add the date of your wedding—your groomsman will never forget where they got it!

4. Whiskey Dropper

Finally, consider a quality whiskey dropper. SipDark offers the Angels’ Share Whiskey Dropper Set.

These droppers make it easy to add just the right amount of water to your whiskey. No more guessing how much water to add, and no more putting your glass underneath the kitchen tap!

Handmade in Scotland by master craftsmen, this is an extremely high quality gift that your groomsman will cherish for many years.

April 07, 2017

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New to Whiskey? Here’s What You Need to Know

New to Whiskey? Discover These Amazing Facts

New to the world of whiskey? There are lots of varieties of the spirit available, and there’s an awful lot of history behind them all. If you’re interested in really understanding whiskey, its many varieties and how you can best enjoy it, there are some key things to know.

How is Whiskey Made?

The process of making whiskey starts with a mash. This is where the grain or malt being used is ground in a mill and mixed with hot water. A mash is created, and the soluble starches within it are drained away as they become a liquid known as wort. This is a sugary solution that forms the basis of whiskey.

Once the wort has been cooled, it is passed into large liquid vessels. Yeast is added and the solution is left to ferment, slowly becoming a crude alcohol solution. This usually takes around 48 hours, and the end result is a liquid known as wash. This is a low-alcohol solution with some unfermentable matter found within it.

The wash is heated until the alcohol becomes a vapor, which then passes through a cooling plant and is once again condensed into a liquid. This distillation is all about separating the fermented liquid from the alcohol, removing yeast residue and other matter that is unfermentable. The result, a distillate, is distilled a second time, creating a whiskey.

What is Single Malt?

Single Malt Whiskey is a form of malt whiskey that comes from just one distillery. This means that the whiskey is created from a fermented mash of malted grain, and it contains no unmalted grain.

The most common kind of single malt is Scotch Whiskey, though there are varieties of single malts that come from other places. Typically, single malt will be more expensive and is considered more desirable, though there are many blended whiskeys that have garnered great reviews from critics.

Somewhat misleadingly, however, some single malts are in fact made from a blend of whiskeys. A number of different whiskeys produced by the same distillery may be combined to create a brand of single malt.

What is Blended Whiskey?

A blended whiskey is essentially a mixture. This means that two or more whiskeys have been combined to create one whiskey, which is bottled and sold. This spirit will contain a combination of barrel-aged malt whiskey and grain whiskeys.

What Kind of Blends Exist?

There is more than one kind of blend on the market. There are in fact three primary kinds of whiskey blends available, and these include the following.

1. Blended Scotch Whiskey

Blended Scotch whiskeys make up around 90% of all whiskey sales. This kind of whiskey is a blend of malt whiskeys and grain whiskeys that have been sourced from multiple distilleries. Some famous brands of blended Scotch whiskey include Cutty Sark, Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal. 

2. Blended Grain Scotch Whiskey

A blended grain Scotch whiskey is a blend of single grain whiskeys taken from at least two distilleries. The single grain whiskeys are known for being among the milder offerings, but some distilleries produce exceptionally high quality grain whiskeys.

3. Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey

Blended malt Scotch whiskey was once called ‘vatted malts.’ This spirit is produced by blending single malts from at least two distilleries. There are many whiskey companies that purchase individual whiskeys from distillers and blend them to create their own product with unique flavors and characteristics.

Whiskey Lovers Don’t Add Ice

You will see it in bars all the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you! Adding ice to your whiskey changes the spirit in many ways. First of all, as the ice melts, it dilutes the whiskey. Secondly, the ice can dull the flavor of the whiskey, removing some of its unique characteristics that set it apart from other spirits on the market.

By reducing the temperature too much, the flavor is inhibited and the aroma damaged. For this reason, whiskey lovers do one of two things – they either drink it neat, or they use whiskey stones. SipDark’s popular soapstone whiskey stones are designed to be frozen and added to your drink, cooling it only the right amount, and allowing you to drink your whiskey undiluted.

While diluting your whiskey too much with melting ice is a bad thing, adding a dash of water can in fact be a good thing. A small drop of water stops the strong alcohol from numbing your sense of taste and smell. The best kind of water to use for this is still spring water – it will enhance the flavor and the aroma. Avoid using tap water, as in many parts of the world, the water contains chlorine that will ruin the flavor.

There Are Some Fantastic Whiskey Accessories

For anyone looking for a great wife or husband gift at Christmas (or any other holiday), there are many whiskey accessories available that makes drinking the spirit even more enjoyable. As well as the aforementioned soapstone whiskey stones, SipDark offers a range of products – including engraved groomsman gifts – that are ideal for whiskey lovers.

Take, for instance, SipDark’s range of high quality Glencairn glasses. These are the most popular form of glasses used by whiskey enthusiasts. They fit nicely in the hand and have the perfect weight and a shape that allows you to experience the aromas and flavors in their fullest form.

SipDark also has a number of whiskey bullet gifts available. These serve the same purpose as drink stones, but are made of solid steel and are crafted in the shape of a bullet.

So if you’re new to the world of whiskey, these are just some of the key things you need to be aware of. If you’re looking to enjoy whiskey even more, be sure to check out the wide range of great accessories available.
April 03, 2017

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5 Whiskey Cocktails You’ve Never Heard Of

Try These Amazing and Quirky Whiskey Cocktails

So, you’ve recently picked up some of our amazing whiskey drink stones or a classic Glencairn glass as a girlfriend or boyfriend birthday gift. Perhaps you’re just a big fan of whiskey yourself, and you’re interested in trying something new.

Maybe, even, you’ve purchased a personalized groomsman gift and you want to make sure you and the special people in your life can really enjoy your whiskey.

Whatever it is, there are many classic whiskey cocktails you can enjoy, but there are plenty of recipes you might never have heard of. Take a look at these five whiskey cocktails you’ve probably never heard of, and see which one takes your fancy!

Cola and Peanut Whiskey Cocktail

The last two things you would have ever put with whiskey might be cola and peanut, but it’s sure worth a try. Mixologists are turning to new and interesting ingredients to create cocktails that are baffling, exciting and surprisingly delicious,

The cola and peanut whiskey cocktail was developed in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a really exciting treat for whiskey lovers. To make it, you’ll need 1 ¾ oz. Of Jack Daniel’s, a bottle of Coca Cola, and 1 oz. of peanut orgeat.

Peanut orgeat can be made at home. To do this, put peanuts in a food processor, and pulverize them. Then, combine 1 ½ cups of sugar and 1 ¼ cups of water in a saucepan. Over medium heat, wait until the sugar dissolves completely, and then allow the mixture to boil for around three minutes. Add the peanut mixture to the water, and then lower the heat to let the contents simmer for three or four more minutes until you see it about to boil. At this point, remove the pan from the hob, cover it up and let it sit for six hours before you strain it through a cheese cloth.

To create the whiskey, pour your whiskey and peanut orgeat into a glass, over ice, and top it up with cola. If you like, you can even garnish it with some roasted peanuts.

The Hot Blooded

If you like spice, then the Hot Blooded might be right for you. Made using the amazing blood orange and a medium-sized jalapeno, this is a really exciting whiskey cocktail you’ve probably never heard of.

To make the Hot Blooded, you’ll need a cup of freshly squeezed blood orange juice, 1 tablespoons of Agave, 4 fluid ounces of whiskey (of your choice!) and a medium-sized jalapeno that has been shopped, with the stem removed.

To start, get yourself a cocktail shaker and add the whiskey, blood orange juice and the agave. Stir it until everything is combined, and then add your chopped jalapenos. Put on the shaker cap, and shake it up three times. Don’t shake too many times!

Then, pour the cocktail through a strainer so you’re not drinking jalapeno seeds, into a Glencairn glass with ice. You can garnish with orange of pepper if you like, but small pieces of jalapeno are easy to choke on when drinking.

The Bacon Old Fashioned

You’ve probably heard of the Old Fashioned, but what about the Bacon Old Fashioned? This is a real manly whiskey cocktail that infuses a meaty flavor, along with a hint of sweetness from maple syrup.

To make the cocktail, you’ll need 2 ounces of bacon-infused bourbon. You will likely have to make this yourself. You can do this by cooking three or four slices of bacon in a frying ban. Reserve any of the fat. Once the bacon fat has cooled off, pour roughly one ounce of fat out from the pan.

Take a non-porous container of your choice, pour in your bourbon, and then strain the bacon fat into the mixture. Stir and leave the whiskey to infuse for up to 6 hours at room temperature. 

To remove the fat from the bourbon again, place the container in the freezer until the fat freezes solid. Then, you can remove the fat using a slotted spoon, and put the whiskey back in the bottle. That makes your bacon-infused bourbon!

To make the cocktail, mix 2 ounces of your bacon-infused bourbon with a ¼ ounce of maple syrup, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters in a glass. Over ice, this is an extremely tempting cocktail, and you can finish it off with an orange twist.

The Fourth Down

Combining lime, whiskey, syrup, Montreal steak sauce and Tabasco, this might sound a little odd – but it’s worth a try. Combining tartness and plenty of spice, this is a perfect whiskey cocktail to go with a steak or other meat-based meal.

To make this cocktail, you’ll need 8 ounces of American whiskey, 1 ounce of syrup, Tabasco sauce, Montreal steak seasoning and the juice of two limes. Start by combining all your ingredients in a pitcher with ice, and stir. There’s not much to the actual making of the cocktail, but you will need to make a little effort with the serving.

Take your glasses and add Montreal steak seasoning to the rim. Pour your cocktail in to the glasses and add a little Tabasco sauce to finish. A lime wedge is an ideal garnish.

Bourbon Sweet Tea

Finally, be sure to try the Bourbon Sweet Tea. To make this, you’ll need 1 cup of homemade sweet tea, 1 ounce of bourbon, a lemon wedge, and some mint leaves.

To make the sweet tea, take 8 black tea bags and pour in 3 cups of boiling water to a large container. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, stir, and leave to steep for 15 minutes. Then, add 3 cups of cold water, stir, and pour the mixture into a pitcher and leave it in the refrigerator until it’s cool.

TO make your cocktail, add the tea, bourbon, and a dash of lemon juice into a glass and stir. Serving with ice is ideal as a summery cocktail drink, and you can top it with mint leaves and a lemon wedge.

March 29, 2017

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Miss International Whiskey Day? Try These Limited Edition Releases Anyway

Celebrate International Whiskey Day with Rare Releases

International Whiskey Day is celebrated all over the world on the 27th of March. The celebrations began in 2008 when it was first announced, and since then, whiskey lovers, companies, and distillers all over the world have celebrated the very best that’s on offer. If you missed International Whiskey Day, however, there’s no reason why you can’t still celebrate. Get your favorite Glencairn glass and some ice-cold drink stones, and celebrate this drink with some of 2017’s amazing new releases.

1. Deanston 40-Year-Old

In January this year, Deanston released a new 40-year-old whiskey. Fewer than 500 bottles were produced, so this certainly won’t be the easiest to get a hold of. If you’re a real enthusiast, you can pick up a bottle of this 45.6% ABV whiskey for £1,000 GBP per bottle.

Deanston says that the luxury whiskey is ‘heavily influenced by the past’, and that the single malt whiskey was made using traditional methods and equipment.

2. English Whiskey’s ‘Malt ‘n’ Rye’

English Whiskey is a distiller located in Norfolk, which has in 2017 released the Malt ‘n’ Rye single grain whiskey. The company says that it celebrated ‘the uniqueness of Norfolk,’ with the whisky having been matured in bourbon casks, and made from malted barley and rye.

The release will see 1,962 bottles sold worldwide, as well as two other whiskies in the range, including ‘Farmers’ and the soon-to-be-released ‘Parched.’

Upon announcement, English Whiskey explained:

“This range of whiskies celebrates the county and its characteristics – a beautiful, well-kept secret, which is gloriously different, with unique flavors.”

3. Tomatin’s Five Virtues

Another surprising and limited whiskey release comes from Tomatin, with a range of single malts that are inspired by nature’s elements. Branded ‘Five Virtues,’ this new, limited-edition range of single malts includes five distinguished whiskies.

Each of the whiskies released is named for one of the five elements: ‘Wood,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Earth,’ ‘Metal,’ and ‘Water.’ 

Each single malt will have a run limited to 6,000 bottles. The marketing manager of Tomatin, Jennifer Masson, commented on the release:

“As our brand grows we are increasingly inspired by global concepts and the Five Virtues series was born out of this inspiration. We wanted to release a creative limited-edition series focusing on the effect of different cask maturations, while linking it to a wider concept.”

4. The Dubliner’s Limited-Edition Single Malt

At the beginning of March this year, The Dubliner Irish Whiskey released a new, limited-edition single malt that has been matured for 10 years. Produced by a master distiller known as Darryl McNally, the whiskey has been distilled in the tradition of Dublin whiskey making.

On the release of the new single malt, McNally said:

“We lay the whiskey to rest for 10 years in casks that previously held Kentucky bourbons and carefully hand select each cask to give a smooth, rounded finish that lingers long on the palate and in the heart.”

Why not make April your international whiskey month? Pull out a Glencairn glass and treat yourself to some of 2017’s newest whiskey releases – and toast to many more!
March 24, 2017

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Cheers to Whiskey! Discover 9 Ways It Can Improve Your Health

Discover These Amazing Health Benefits of Whiskey

Always wondered whether your enjoyment of whiskey was doing you harm? Maybe having a little whiskey at the end of a long day is doing your health no good? Think again! Whether you’re sipping one of the finest Scotch whiskies from a Glencairn glass in your home at night, or enjoying a high-quality blend with your friends on a Saturday night, that whiskey could be doing you wonders.

It’s time to rethink whiskey. Take a look at these amazing health benefits it can offer!

1. Whiskey Makes You Live Longer

A study from 2010, performed by the Research Society on Alcoholism, showed that middle-aged and older men who drank whiskey on a moderate basis had a lower mortality rate overall compared to people of the same age who don’t drink.

So maybe it’s a stretch to say it makes you live longer, but the correlation is definitely there. If you’re a whiskey drinker, you might just live longer!

2. Whiskey Helps You Lose Weight

Looking to lose a few extra pounds? Drinking whiskey can actually help you lose weight – that is, at least, if you are currently a regular drinker of other alcoholic beverages. This is particularly true of wine and beer drinkers.

If you switch to whiskey, which is a drink low in carbohydrates, you can reduce the amount you consume and therefore aid your weight loss. Furthermore, a study from 1991 by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition said that those who enjoy moderate whiskey consumption have increased energy levels and a decreased desire to consume sugar. This means you’ll be reducing your carb intakes and snacking less!

3. Keep a Healthy Heart and Avoid Strokes

There is a connection between a moderate consumption of whiskey and a reduction in cardiovascular disease. This means that drinking whiskey on a regular basis means you are less likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, clot-caused problems and even cardiac death. This is news from a Harvard study, so you can smile knowing then when you purchase a bottle of whiskey as a girlfriend or boyfriend’s birthday gift, you’re really doing them a favor!

4. Avoid Dementia

Drink too much whiskey, and you’re prone to forgetting. Drink a moderate amount of whiskey throughout the week, and you might actually be improving your memory! This is all according to a 2003 case study, which showed how adult men and women who consumed between one and six drinks of whiskey during the week became half as likely to suffer from dementia in their old age.

5. Reduce Anxiety and Nerves

Struggling with general anxiety and nerves? Well, according to research performed at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center in Toronto, a glass of whiskey can help improve your blood circulation and oxygenation, as well as settle your nerves. It does note, however, that drinking too much of it can increase your nerves – so it’s all a matter of finding the right balance!

6. It’s Perfect for Diabetes!

If you suffer from diabetes, you know just how difficult it can be finding a treat that you can actually enjoy. You can’t have certain snacks, you have to avoid particular drinks – the cycle can be tiresome. Whiskey, however, needn’t be on your list of banned food and drink.

Whiskey has no sugar at all. It also has zero carbs and fat, meaning that if you’re a diabetes sufferer, you’ll always have a go-to drink when you’re at the bar. Not to mention, it’s one of the coolest drinks available anyway!

7. …and If You Want to Prevent Diabetes!

As well as being an ideal drink for people who already have diabetes, drinking whiskey can in fact help you avoid developing it! Many studies have shown that consuming whiskey on a moderate basis for a long period of time can help your body regulate its insulin levels.

This can, potentially, reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Remember, however, that drinking too much alcohol can in fact have the opposite effect, so it’s important to drink in moderation at all times!

8. Whiskey Helps You Avoid Cancer

As cancer becomes increasingly prevalent, we have yet another reason to drink whiskey – it reduces our chances of developing the condition! Thanks to the large amount of ellagic, which is a strong antioxidant, the beverage is able to reduce free radicals that cause cancer in the body.

By slowing down these free radicals, the antioxidants in your whiskey can slow down the development of cancerous cells, and in some cases, even stop cancer from occurring. So remember, as well as tasting great, your whiskey could be saving your life.

It’s even truer of high quality, single malt whiskies. It’s thought that they contain more antioxidants than even the very best red wine!

9. Ease a Cold or Sore Threat

Whiskey can be used as a solution to a sore throat, too! The classic hot toddy remedy sees whiskey mixed with hot water, a dash of lemon and a big serving of honey. Mix it up and you have an amazing cure for a sore throat. The honey provides a soothing touch to the inside of your throat, the hot water keeps you toasty and warm, and the whiskey is a perfect additional touch that makes you feel relaxed. You really can’t beat it when you’ve got a cold, the flu or just a plain old sore throat.

Treat Yourself with SipDark!

Whether you’re planning on buying a girlfriend or boyfriend’s birthday gift, or you want to treat yourself, SipDark has some amazing accessories. Try our famous whiskey bullets to chill your whiskey, and sip it down in a quality Glencairn glass.

SipDark takes whiskey seriously, and with all these health benefits, it should be no surprise why! Find some amazing gifts on our website, kick back, relax, drink your favorite whiskey and rest assured that you’re actually doing wonders for your health in the process.
March 21, 2017

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The Best Independent Whiskey Bottlers You Need to Know

An independent bottler is a company that is sold barrels of whiskey by distillers. Many distilleries now exist solely to sell whiskey to independent bottlers, and they often sell high quality and yet little-known whiskeys that can make a perfect groomsmen gift, or even as an addition to your whiskey cupboard!

From quality and small-batch single malt whiskeys to more experimental blends, independent bottlers offer some real treats, and these are some of the very best you should know about. So sit back, get your Glencairn glass out, and see what you’re missing!

1. Wilson and Morgan

Wilson and Morgan is an Italian independent whiskey bottler that has a history dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century. The company is connected to the Rossis, a famous family of Venetian traders. In the 1960s, the company branched out from their traditional wine and oil business and into whiskey. Later, in the 1980s, the company became the Wilson and Morgan independent bottlers.

To this day, Wilson and Morgan releases a wide range of quality whiskeys, sourcing their barrels from brokers and distillers across the United Kingdom.

2. Malts of Scotland

Malts of Scotland is a German independent bottler that is best known throughout mainland Europe. Its whiskeys are sometimes available in the United States, and should you ever come across anything they release, it’s sure to be an interesting and exciting product. The company is known for releasing high quality whiskeys like the cask-matured Islay Heaven Hill, which proved exceptionally popular in the United States.

3. Old Bothwell

Old Bothwell made its name for its range of affordably-priced, yet fantastic-tasting Port Ellen Scotch whiskey. The company has continued bottling high quality whiskeys like their Port Ellen range, with many of their products being sold in regular stores, and even at auction. Unfortunately, though, the prices have increased quite significantly. If you’re lucky enough to find anything by Old Bothwell, expect to pay more than you did with the Port Ellen range.

4. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

This society was founded back in 1983 by a group of whiskey enthusiasts, and today it has become much more than a group of fans. It is now a member’s club with branches all over the world, and every month, the society releases a new whiskey.

Originally, the whiskeys released were available only to members, but as the club has grown the whiskeys have been made available to the public. Non-members must pay more to purchase the bottles, but those who become members can enjoy these whiskeys at members-only bars across the world. So, if you’re looking for great whiskey and interesting people to enjoy it with, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society might be right for you.

5.  Mackillop’s Choice

Finally, there is Mackillop’s Choice – a range of whiskeys that have been specially selected by the heir to the chief of the Mackillop clan in Scotland, Lorne Mackillop.

After years working in the wine industry, and becoming a Master of Wine, Lorne Mackillop now works for the owner of the Tomintoul distillery, and regularly chooses his favorite whiskeys to bottled and sold.

These are just five our favorite independent bottlers. We hope the next time you’re shopping for a gift (for your friends or for yourself!) you’ll think of them and get the chance to discover a new great whiskey.
March 18, 2017

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The 8 Best Scotch Whiskies for Under $100

 

So, you’ve got your SipDark drink stones at the ready. Your cigar is lit and resting on our very special, aluminum cigar rest. It’s time to open up a fine bottle of Scotch…but what are you drinking?

It can be tough finding a new whiskey. Sure, you have the favorites and classics around, but what about when you’re looking for something new?

There are many high-quality Scotch whiskies out there for under $100, and you can find out more about them right here!

1. Laphroaig Quarter Cask

For under $75, you can get a hold of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. This is one of the smokiest and peatiest whiskies around, and it has developed quite the reputation. The unique and incredibly full flavor is achieved thanks to the time it spends maturing in a ‘quarter cask’ – a much smaller cask that exposes more of the liquid to the flavor of the wood.

It’s easy to compare the flavor of this whiskey with a campfire. It has a smoky side to it, but the vanilla and butterscotch flavors still come through.

2. Lagavulin 16 Yr.

If you’re looking for a quality single malt for as little as $57, you’ve found it. Lagavulin is a timeless whiskey, which shares a peaty and smoky flavor with Laphroaig. The whiskey also has a rich palate, with sherry and malt flavors that are perfectly complemented by a sweet, fruity flavor. The smokiness combined with sweetness is what makes this 16-year-old single malt Scotch a really great buy. For less than $60, this is one of the best buys you can make this year. 


3. Ardbeg Uigeadial 

Uigeadial is a Scottish Gaelic word meaning “Dark and Mysterious Place.” Just looking at the bottle, it’s obvious that this whiskey is very malty, and it also features black forest honey flavors and hints of sweet and ripe fruit. This dark, luxury whiskey won Jim Murray’s famous ‘World Whiskey of the Year’ award in 2009, and despite being so popular, you can pick up a bottle for less than $70.

According to Murray, every pour of this drink shows its unique character, and its offers notes of peat, espresso, tar and dark sugar. This is a classy, tasteful whiskey that’s well worth the affordable price.

4. Balvenie Caribbean Cask

Another great option for under $75 is Balvenie Caribbean Cask, a rum-finished Scotch that offers something different for Scotch drinkers. This is a new version of the Balvenie Single Barrel, which has rave reviews online. It is a year younger than the original, and has been finished in rum casks, instead of the sherry casks that made the original Balvenie so famous.

The rum flavors combine with a sherry, brown sugar and peaty taste, making this unlike every other Scotch on the market.

5. Coal Ila I2

The Coal Ila I2 is perfect for combining with a great piece of fish. This is a popular whiskey with a smoky nose and strong lemon flavors. You have probably already tried it, too – this is a popular part of the Johnnie Walker blends. Its lightness – almost so light it could be mistaken for a white wine – makes this a surprisingly easy to drink whiskey. 

6. The Glenlivet 18 Yr.

Amazingly, this 18-year-old single malt whiskey costs just $70, and it’s an all-round fantastic Scotch to keep at home. Glenlivet 18 Yr. has won a number of gold medals in the International Wine and Spirits Competition, and has been praised for its honey, oak, and walnut notes, combined with orange and apple pairings. Every sip reveals new notes that makes the Glenlivet 18 Yr. extra special. 

You’ll struggle to find a negative review for this whiskey anywhere, so if you’re looking for something high quality and affordable, you’ll be able to pick this up at most good whiskey and spirit stores.

7. Glenfiddich 18 Yr.

Glenfiddich has an 18-year-old Scotch that has proved to be one of its finest offerings. The Glenfiddich 18 Yr was matured and finished in sherry and bourbon casks, which have created a totally unique flavor profile. It’s deep and heavy, but it maintains a fruity tang.

Experts say the nose offers baked apple and grapefruit, along with cinnamon, salted toffee, and candied fruit. This is a traditional and popular single malt that is well worth the RRP of $72. For that price, it’s difficult to find anything else quite as high in quality.

8. Aberlour A’bunadh

For under $100, you can pick up a cask-strength whiskey with serious flavor. The Aberlour A’bunadh comes in a bottle with wax seals, making this look as traditional and refined as it tastes. The whiskey is a blend of Aberlour Scotch that has been matured and finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, and then bottled without dilution or chill filtration. This is a super high quality whiskey that is more than 120 proof – though this depends entirely on the batch that you purchase. 

 

With a nose of citrus and vanilla and a ginger and peat flavor, this is a warm and satisfying whiskey.

Each batch is slightly different, and the A’bunadh is released in small, limited-run batches. So if you’re looking to pick up a bottle of this classic whiskey, be prepared to do some searching. You’ll likely find it for a great price, but it might not be available immediately when you need it.

Have a Great Glass Ready

At SipDark, we think it’s important that every whiskey lover has the right glass. We a have a fantastic, quality and affordable range of Glencairn glassware that helps you enjoy your whiskey as much as possible.

Designed to fit perfectly in the hand with a comfortable weight, a Glencairn glass from SipDark makes your whiskey experience the best it can be.

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