By Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki Clark
As you may recall from previous posts, Iâ€™m a fan of bourbon whisky. So when I heard about the Johnnie Walker tasting and food pairings at D.C.’s gastropub Againn (pron. A-gwen), I think I rsvped in record time. But I can be naÃ¯ve sometimes (not along the level of my sister Lindsey Clark thinking we actually went to Mars in the Disney World ride-naÃ¯ve though) and when I heard whiskey tasting, my first thought was bourbon. Mmmm. Bourbon. I was a bit surprised, then, when I showed up at what was not a bourbon but a scotch tasting. I was even more surprised when I found that I liked it, particularly since my previous view of scotch drinkers were elderly men in ascots that hung out in places like parlors and libraries.
According to my favorite source for accurate information, Wikipedia, whisky is defined as the following:
Whisky (Scottish English and British English) or whiskey (Hiberno-English and American English) is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and maize (corn).
There are American whiskies (bourbon), Australian whiskies, Canadian whiskies, Danish whiskies. Other countries contributing to the mix Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Wales and a host of others. Oh, and Scotland. Which is where the Scotch part comes in. They are all slightly different variations of ingredients, with scotch mostly consisting of malt and barley. See? I donâ€™t go to these things just for the delicious food and drink! I truly have a constant desire for knowledge.
We started our dinner with conversations and Johnnie Walkerâ€™s version of the whisky sour, made with their Black Label. A little sweet for my taste but it had a great kick that really shook my taste buds awake after a day of coke zeros and lean cuisines. We had the pleasure of sitting next to the man with the worldâ€™s greatest job titleâ€”National Master of Scotch Whiskyâ€”Gregor Cattanach, a native Scot who hosted the dinner along with Johnnie Walkerâ€™s Peter Zimmerman.
Throughout the three course mealâ€”farm fresh organic greens, pork belly and crackling and sticky toffee pudding, Peter and Gregor explained the chosen pairings and the process underwent to reach its ultimate finish and taste. All in all, we tasted Johnnie Walker Green, Gold and Blue labels. The Blue label, paired with the toffee pudding and served frozen, was absolutely amazing. AMAZING. Those guys with the ascots know what theyâ€™re doing, I guess. And the pork belly and crackling was extremely tasty. Who knew pork skins could be served in fancy restaurants and not just eaten by not-so-classy pop stars in gas stations?
For more information about any of Johnnie Walkerâ€™s products, visit johnniewalker.com. You can even create a personalized bottle by engraving names or corporate logos. (Christmas present, anyone?) To try the worldâ€™s best toffee pudding for yourself, visit againndc.com. To invite me to anything whisky-orientated, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I need to keep learning after all!
***Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki Clark is a professional photographer and the Policy Media Relations Officer for CARE USA.Â Like her sister Lindsey, she loves live music and looking at life through the lens of a camera.***
Punch Pulse Correspondent Niki McMillan is a part time photographer; full time Red Crosser and 24/7 big sister to fellow puncher Lindsey. She loves travel, puppy kisses (especially from her own, ichabob) and invites to bourbon-orientated events.