I wasn’t sure if I’d manage to get a post up this week; summer has finally arrived in the UK and with it, rather perversely, a very sore throat and a head cold. The arrival of a Jubilee bottle of Stones Ginger Wine, however, suggested a solution in the form of that most traditional of sore throat cure, the Whisky Mac.
Of course, you need a Whisky in your Mac so I grabbed my trusty Islay Mist – I didn’t want to overwhelm the ginger with a big smoking Lagavulin, or drown out the sublime Glenbridge with ginger. The Mist seemed to be the perfect partner.
The recipe was the next problem. Every web site has a different ratio, from the whisky-heavy to the virtually-all-ginger. How to tell what’s the right recipe? It’s obvious – try them all (or at least a decent selection of them).
First then, the Whisky Max – 2 parts whisky to 1 part ginger wine. Definitely more whisky than anything else on the aroma – the ginger, to my less-than-perfect nose at the moment, is really just a slight spicy hint.
In the mouth, the ginger wine is more present but still very nicely balanced – you get some of that sweet, fruity heat from the wine, but plenty of whisky punch as well. It’s wonderfully warming, and my throat feels better already but I think I need a bit more ginger in my Mac.
So next, the Whisky Mac – equal quantities of whisky and ginger wine. More ginger on the nose, but without that overwhelming sweetness you can get with neat ginger wine. The alcohol of the whisky manages to make it smell spicy but light.
It’s a similar story in the mouth; there’s much more ginger heat there, but the whisky cuts through somewhat and stops it getting to heavy.
Finally, the Ginger Mac – the inverse of the Whisky Max, with 1 part whisky to 2 parts ginger wine and smelling more like regular ginger wine with a hint of something medicinal underneath.
The sweet sticky ginger of the wine fills the taste as well; with this version all the whisky is really doing is adding an extra kick. Probably ideal for people who aren’t so keen on whisky, but to me it’s a little disappointing.
In my present state, the half-and-half Whisky Mac gives me the perfect balance; plenty of ginger but with the whisky shining through nicely, keeping everything sweet, strong and light. Without a sore throat to contend with, I can definitely see the appeal of the Whisky Max – adding a delightfully spiced edge to the whisky.
And I’m happy to report that I can no longer feel my throat either.
Stones kindly provided Pete Drinks with the Ginger Wine. Pete Drinks provided his own Islay Mist from the embarassingly large pile he bought after recently reviewing it.