Alcohol Brand News Toasty

Johnnie Walker Experiments with Three New Flavors for Blenders’ Batch

As whiskey of all kinds continues to become the spirit of choice for many, this has given distillers and blenders the opportunity to flex their creative muscles. So beyond crafting a beautiful brown spirit only known for its smoke or bite, many are now creating whiskies that can be easily paired with food.

Johnnie Walker recently launched three new whiskies: Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend, Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Rum Cask Finish and Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast. They are the results of over 100 ongoing Scotch experiments by the brand’s small team of 12 expert blenders, and influenced by flavor cultures from around the world.

To celebrate their releases, the brand also launched a series of short films showcasing the blenders’ collaboration with taste innovators such as chef Edward Lee, barista James Hoffmann, sommelier André Mack, chef Jason Howard and some of the world’s most celebrated bartenders.

The films provide a behind-the-scenes look at some discussions on new taste combinations, with blenders Aimée Gibson and Chris Clark meeting flavor experts and lifting the lid on the whisky maker’s ongoing experimentations into flavor – all of which are carried out under the guidance of Master Blender Jim Beveridge at the brand’s home in Scotland.

“Our short films are a window into our endless quest for new taste experiences in Scotch,” says Beveridge. “Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch whiskies are the result of bold experiments that push the boundaries in flavor – just as Johnnie Walker Black Label did more than a century ago. Over time that experimental blend has gone on to become a true icon of Scotch all around the world.”

“We know how to make exceptional Scotch, we’ve been making it for years,” adds Gibson. “However, by opening our doors to some of the world’s foremost experts in food and drink, I feel we’ve been able to unlock new flavor and aroma combinations in our latest whiskies that are culturally relevant and that will excite new and seasoned whisky lovers.”

As part of the collaboration, chef and self-confessed whisky obsessive Edward Lee, alongside his fellow flavor experts, were challenged by Gibson and Clark to use their skills to further extend the possibilities of these new whiskies by developing original cocktails.

Using his gastronomic expertise and knowledge of whisky and wine, Chef Lee created the Blueberry Scotch cocktail using Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend. “Aimée’s knowledge of whisky made this a thrilling journey of discovery in flavor and aromas for me,” says Lee. “I learned that the blend I was challenged to play with was curated by Aimée following the outcome of an experiment in maturation with former wine casks set in motion by her mentor Jim Beveridge over ten years ago – now that’s dedication to your craft.”

For Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast, Gibson experimented with whiskies distilled using barley roasted more heavily than ever before resulting in punchy notes of rich coffee and dark chocolate which have been brought to life in the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast Speciality cocktail, which features coffee liqueur, sweet vermouth and lemon zest.

The third blend to be released in the range, Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Rum Cask Finish, was the culmination of blender Clark’s experimentation with whisky finished in casks which previously held Caribbean pot still rum. Chef Howard played with the whisky’s smooth and spicy flavors and believes it is best enjoyed in the Johnnie Walker Rum Cask Blend Steel Drum Cooler cocktail that uses pineapple juice and ginger root.

Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Wine Cask Blend launched in selected countries this month and retails for $29.99. Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Rum Cask Finish and Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Espresso Roast will be available globally next month.

Culture Drinks Hit-Or-Miss News

Start An Epic Pub Crawl With This Map of Every Pub In The UK


Photo: University of Waterloo

If you ever wanted to go on the most epic UK pub crawl in history, it just got a whole lot easier to find everything.

The University of Waterloo’s Math Department created a map of nearly every single pub in the United Kingdom utilizing Google. According to The Poke, 12 or more pubs are missing from this map, but the results are still incredibly impressive to take a look at.

In total, the Math Department identified 24,727 different pubs across England and Scotland, and marked all of them on this interactive, Google-powered map. To estimate how that measures in terms of pub coverage, the total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 94,000 square miles — meaning that there is 1 pub for at least every 4 square miles apart.

As a comparison, the United States has 624,301 total restaurants (including pubs) over approximately 3.8 million square miles — or 1 restaurant every 6 square miles apart. That’s some serious coverage by UK pubs.

Looking at the above zoomed-out map (which takes about 10 minutes to load and zoom out because of how massive the data in this map is), all you can really see is a literal sea of red markers. It’s impossible to get a measure of coverage.


Photo: The Poke

However, zooming in reveals that the highest concentration of pubs lies in Southern England, with London having the most pubs in that are respectively. It’s still impossible to tell exact coverage in the London area because of how crowded the pub map is.


Photo: University of Waterloo

This zoomed-in view of just one small area of London shows how many pubs exist — basically a couple per city block, at the very minimum. You could easily construct a legendary pub crawl from this map, wherever you may be in the UK.

If you’re up for the challenge, use the map, head to a spot in the UK, and begin your epic pub crawl. Best of luck.


HAGGIS Burger Featured On Hard Rock Cafe’s World Tour Menu


Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating a World Burger Tour and, because of this, has developed an entire menu of Local Legendary Burgers that represent different continents.

One note-worthy addition is the Haggis Burger. The Scottish entry features an Angus Beef patty that’s topped with haggis, melted Monterey Jack cheese, golden turnip frazzles and glazed with a whisky maple sauce.

Haggis is a staple Scottish pudding that consists of sheep’s pluck (liver, lungs, heart). It’s mixed together with minced onions, suet, oatmeal and other spices and thrown into a stomach casing.

Other burgers from the menu include a Banh Mi Burger, a Marimba Burger, an Aussie Burger and a Schnitzel Burger.

Hard Rock Cafe’s Legendary Burger offerings will be available at all participating locations.



Scottish Haggis and Whiskey Chips Are Real. We’re Freaking Out


Welp, it was bound to happen. And frankly, we say it’s about time. The public of Scotland has risen up to declare that they too want to determine their chips’ flavors, a la Lay’s competition. In response, Mackies, a five year old chip company, has released two new and decidedly Scottish flavors of chips: Scotch Whisky and Haggis, and Venison & Cranberry.

The hope is that the chip flavors will extend beyond Scotland and into international markets in Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, due to the global love affair with whiskey. But let’s not forget the haggis either, because that’s the important part that we are not willing to forget so easily.

For those of you unfamiliar with haggis, it’s a traditional Scottish dish of lamb lung and heart stuffed into a sheep’s stomach. Add to that good old Scottish whiskey and you have what we’re assuming is a delicious combination, to Scotts at least. For the rest of the world, getting around the flavors of offal and organs might be a little too much to take, even despite their appetizing chip-shaped container. Still, whiskey in a chip might be too tempting to not give at least one a try.

Would you give these chips a taste? What do you imagine their reception will be when they arrive in the States? Let us know below!

H/T + PicThx Grubstreet


After Listening to Reddit Advice, this Bakery Went Through an Amazing Transformation


Just 19 days ago, a young girl in Ayr, Scotland posted the following to Reddit: “My dad’s new cake shop. Really want it to succeed but it’s been pretty quiet so far.” The post linked to photos of her father’s little cake shop Le Petite Patisserie.


Chocolate teardrop filled with a baileys and white chocolate mousse



Dark chocolate ganache with cherry kirsch



However, while the desserts were no doubt superb, she admitted that the bakery was struggling.




So, Redditors did what they do best and gave their two cents and then some. Many noted that it was difficult to tell it was a bakery from the outside and that prominent signage would help draw passerby in. Others suggested that she and her father hand out tiny samples in the streets, dress up the store window so people could tell its a bakery from the outside, and to serve coffee so that the smell would give people an incentive to walk in. Many reminded her that the business and social media side of running an eatery was just as important as the pastries.

Someone even offered to make the bakery a website, free of charge.



Not one to take this valuable information lightly, the young girl and her father went to implementing everybody’s advice. 19 days later, La Petite Patisserie saw a major improvement. A frame chalkboard was added to the front of the store, a website was made, an official logo was created to help brand the company and the interior was tweaked for a cozier, quainter atmosphere.



A fresh display case.



Fruit tartlets were added at the suggestion of Redditors…


…as well as the addition of a cream egg cheesecake — a unique, signature item that’s now flying off the shelves.



The father and daughter duo below.


Le Petite Patisserie is located in Ayr, Scotland in Cow Wynd. They’re open  10 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Saturday.

Picthx reddit


There’s Literally a River in Scotland Flowing with Whiskey


More than 6000 liters of whisky was let loose into Scotland’s River Ayr. Apparently, a road tanker carrying 27, 500 liters of the spirit was ordered via computer to pump into the wrong vat, resulting in an overspill into the roadway by the river.

Before you book a one-way flight to Scotland or assume this is the next destination for Holy Ship (!!!) — oh, we know you –environmental groups are already on deck making sure this doesn’t happen again. Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouse Limited was fined £12,000 (US $20,000) for the mishap and polluting the river. Procurator fiscal Sara Shaw chided the company, telling STV News: “The risk of pollution of the river should have been one of the considerations at the forefront of the company’s policies.”

Picthx Phil’s


33 Percent of US Tourists Think Scottish Haggis is an Animal


Our Scottish friends across the pond are well known for cranking out delicious whiskey, but are you familiar with their famous haggis? The sausage-like dish is a staple throughout the country, but many people aren’t aware of what it actually is. In fact, 33% of US tourists believe haggis is an animal, and almost one quarter thought it was possible to catch one.

To be clear, haggis is not a living, breathing creature, but it is made from a variety of animal parts. Traditionally, the dish is sheep’s “pluck” (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, all soaked in stock and then boiled in either a sausage casing or a sheep’s stomach.” It might not sound like the most appetizing of dinners, but haggis is an integral part of Scotland’s national Burns Night, celebrating the life of poet Robert Burns and his contributions to the country.

Many Scots living in the US tend to forgo traditional haggis with offal, including sheep’s lungs, mostly because the US has ruled these animal parts to be inedible and, therefore, they have been banned from import. But a Burns Night meal without haggis is like a Thanksgiving without turkey — it’s absolutely unthinkable!

So the next time you’re in Scotland, make it a point to try some haggis for an authentic Scottish experience.

H/T The Guardian + Picthx Wikipedia

Packaged Food

Haggis Potato Chips are ‘Distinctively Scottish’


Yes, haggis. For anyone who didn’t see Brave last summer, haggis is basically Scottish sausage. If you don’t know what it is and you are not an adventurous eater, you probably won’t want anymore detail than that.

Moving on.