Along for the ride:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whiskey Tasting At The Bubble Lounge

One of the more enticing get-togethers instigated by the British American Chamber of Commerce, a few years ago, was a whiskey tasting, touted to include Haggis and other Scottish hors d'oeuvres.The Bubble Lounge in San Francisco was a stylish location for the event and so I signed up and Hubby and I found ourselves looking forward to something a little out of the ordinary.
Upon arrival we found a pleasant group of well dressed, friendly people, already obediently wearing the stick-on name tags. I think every one every where should wear name tags, all the time. It takes a lot of effort out of an encounter.
There were a few kilts in evidence and it wasn't long before the piper did what pipers do and we were all served Haggis on toast with the first sip of whiskey. We listened to a brief description from a representative of the distillery and savored the smooth flavor, reminiscent of The Highlands.
I had been expecting smoked salmon to be one of the selection of hors d'oeuvres. I admit, my imagination was a bit stumped to guess what else might be thought of as traditionally Scottish. Never underestimate The Scots. The next round was an audacious paring of Laphroaig Islay Whiskey with fresh oysters, served with a Laphroaig whiskey sauce. My French hubby was an instant convert.
If you wish to try Laphroaig for yourself and find it hard to recall the name. In any well qualified distributor of fine spirits, ask for the whiskey that tastes like dirt, (but in a good way). They should know instantly which one you mean.
There is a fine history of a pure and exceptional whiskey produced in a distillery on an island off the West Coast of Scotland. Water flows in picturesque burns and filters through the layers of peat, picking up the unique earthy flavor. I love the concept but the aroma is not dissimilar to a roofer's tar barrel (but in a good way).
The evening was in it's early stages and we were already learning new ideas and acquiring new tastes. We could hardly wait for the next tempting morsel.
There was a brief, surprise announcement that the Mexican Chef who had somehow been hired to replace the original caterer for the evening, had no idea what to serve that might be of Scottish ilk. He had bravely stepped up and made an executive decision and the rest of the whiskeys were accompanied by sushi. I believe this may have been one of the most multicultural evenings we ever enjoyed; (but in a good way)!


  1. Always in a good way. You and your husband seem to be able to try new things and go with the flow very well.

  2. What a curious evening--in a good way. *giggle*

    I love your adventurous nature and glad hubby was happy this time. (*Are we there yet?*)

    Sushi? Scottish sushi? Well, at least it wasn't tacos. *lol*

  3. TechnoBabe, Go with the "Flow"? Good pun!

    Jean, Laphroaig is smelly. Like certain cheeses, it is worth the wiff. Hubby keeps a bottle to savor after dinner from time to time. He also uses it as his secret ingredient in some dishes. You never know when a dish is going to smell like dirt, in a good way of course :) Apple pie and dirt, onion soup and dirt. It's all good.

  4. Being of Scottish descent I'm ashamed to say I haven't sampled many of Scotland's signature dishes... not a even deep fried Mars Bar. But whiskey I am very familiar with...!

  5. Bwahahaha!
    Oh ER, you have me sputtering into my café au lait this morning! Sushi? But, why not? It's foreign! Just so funny, oh thank you! (The oysters sound lush, by the way...)

    When I ran my restaurant+bar in the Morbihan, I kept a selection of 12 single-malts, Laphroaig was one of them. It's good, but I prefer either Glenmorangie or Glenkinchie because licking dirty tarmac isn't my idea of a good thing.

    Also, if a single-malt or blended comes from Ireland or Éire you add an 'E' to the name and it's then 'Whiskey'. Scotch single malts and blended are 'Whisky'.

    You can now use this useless fact and impress your Scottish friends. :)

  6. Your "but in a good way" reminds me of Seinfeld...seems like a hilarious line that could run through a comedy series or the best of posts!

    Ahem. As one who hasn't imbibed for decades now I must say that you remind me of some good times sipping and tasting and testing new things. The Laphroaig does sound like a spirit I would have been drawn to. :)

  7. Laphroaig smells like tcp to me (tis OH's fave) but it sounds an interesting evening!!

  8. Whiskey being the cause of my first ever pass-out, I have avoided it ever since. However, my favourite Belgian pours himself a glass now and then so perhaps you've given me an idea for next Christmas. Good story, ER!

  9. Whisky and sushi... that's unique. I envy you the experience... I cannot drink cheap scotch. But as you know, there is scotch and there is scotch. Find an expensive single malt from the Highlands and it will be a million miles from the regular ones.
    Free whisky and food. I cant get over it. Im jealous!

  10. haggis, oysters and sushi and whiskey, an evening to remember.
    How merry were you at the end of it?

  11. I like single malt whiskey, but prefer a good brandy! It sounds like you had a really enjoyable (if not a little strange - "in a good way") evening.

  12. Steve,My Dad was from Glasgow but not a whisky drinker so I was culturally deficient. See Kitty's comment to learn how we should be spelling this. Spell check is upset with me now. I has beef and oyster suet pudding in a pub in Scotland once. I t was to die for.

    Kitty, I am always glad to learn something new (although many lessons come at a steep price). I am very careful about not referring to anyone as Scotch, that being reserved for beverages and eggs. I like Irish whiskey too and at least I can spell that. I miss my Scottish last name, Cameron. Whose idea was it to marry a Frenchman anyway?

  13. Lydia, at least you have classy yearnings.

    Trudi, medicinal for sure.

    Deborah, I bought a bottle for Hubby for Christmas and had to ask someone for the whisky that tastes like dirt, because I forgot the name. They knew immediately what I was after.

  14. Dave, there was a token sign up fee, not complete freeloading.Don't tell anyone but I put coke in my whisky. (not in the good stuff though).

  15. Friko, sober enough to spell designated driver.

    Di, I have discovered a ginger liqueur which I have only found in England. I bring it back each time I go but my friends are all converts so it doesn't last. At Christmas I chopped up fresh ginger and flavored a bottle of cognac with that and brown sugar. Almost perfect!

  16. Ah, the dear old Laphroaig. I don't drink spirits these days, but I did recommend this one to my son-in-law recently.

  17. Your description of Laphroaig sounds very tasty, and the fact that hubby picked this up as part of his must have home stock.

    My brain filters don't always work up to par... so when you said: "Water flows in picturesque burns and filters through the layers of peat, picking up the unique earthy flavor"... all I could think about were the peat bog folks, still hard at work making some whiskey. With a couple thousand years experience, it has to be good.

  18. Poor old Peat, he's always associated with a bog:) No wonder he makes whisky to dream himself away.