- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

We know you have choices when you go to the liquor store, but in the ever-expanding world of craft beer, wine and spirits, there are now more options than ever to enjoy at home, with friends or before the outdoor summer fire. Here are just a few products to keep your eyes out for as the summer weather gets ever closer:

 

Monkey Shoulder scotch

This blended malt scotch features an earthy taste upfront, and would be great for a Manhattan or a Rob Roy. Unlike most scotchs, I actually preferred it better without a drop of water.

Here’s a cocktail you can make with Monkey Shoulder this spring:

“Show Me the Monkey”

1.5 parts Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky

1 part Drambuie

3 parts apple juice

4 fresh mint leaves

Shake all ingredients together and double strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a mint leaf and banana slice (optional).

 

Devils Backbone Earned Run Ale

Our friends out in Roseland, Virginia, continue to fashion quality and creative brews year-round, and for the warm months of 2017, pick up an Earned Run Ale. The “official” Devils Backbone brew for baseball season offers an incredibly crisp and refreshing taste, great for the warm summer days and late-spring heat. The Virginia brewery’s “Left Field Lodge” can now be found at Nationals Park (section 301), where they are serving up their Vienna Lager, Eight Point IPA and Earned Run Ale throughout the Nats season.

 

Pilar Dark Rum

Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum from the new Hemingway Rum Company pays tribute to “Papa” Ernest’s longtime residency in Key West, where the distillery now sits. The 7 Blonde rum is rather light with just a hint of sugar, but the winner is the 24 Dark, which is an absolute symphony of Southeastern goodness that Hemingway himself would have been proud of — and is indeed worth of his name. Best enjoyed neat or over ice.

 

Naked Turtle Rum

Naked Turtle Rum, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a white rum that has never been aged in barrels — hence it’s “nudity” and clear color. A sweet profile at the front of the palate belies the sugarcane and molasses that are some of the staple crops of the Caribbean. Enjoy neat or over a glass of ice. (Don’t bust out the Coke. Trust me.)

 

Highland Park Valkyrie Single Malt Scotch

For those who like their scotch peaty — and I mean really peaty — take a trip to the far north of Scotland for the Valkyrie, a collaboration between Highland Park and Danish packaging designer Jim Lynvgild. 

As the Orkney islands were once parts of both Denmark and Norway, it’s only natural that the Highland Park distillers would work with the Scandinavians for this “one-off” bottle, in honor of the area’s rich Viking history. 

The Valkyrie has a rather distinct peaty nose and all but announces itself with the first sip on the tongue. For those scotch-drinkers who truly appreciate that peatiness, this is definitely your cup of Valhalla greatness. 

Valkyrie is the first in a series of three Viking Legend releases, with Valknut and Valhalla to follow over the next two years. 

 

Dewar’s Signature

It ain’t cheap, but when you taste it, trust me, you’ll know why.

If you’re looking for something a little more choice for Father’s Day, the Signature scotch from Dewar’s is about as amazing a pour as you’re likely to find at a price point that won’t break the bank. (C’mon, it’s for Dad!) A hefty nose and a smooth-as-silk taste greet you by bringing the glass in for the best kind of inspection.

Then add in just a drop of water and a swish, and the profile of Signature opens up even more, much like the backstory of a character you’ve long loved from literature. 

Recommend pairing it with quality dark chocolate and/or a nice cigar.

C’mon, it’s for Dad, right?

 

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