The demise of whiskey production in Ireland is a different story to that of beer production, but no less poignant. Over the last year I have heard the story many times, but few tell it as entertainingly as John Cashman, the loftily titled 'Global Brand Ambassador' for Cooley Distillery. I was fortunate recently to attend a number of tastings conducted by John, the least of which was a decadent late afternoon lunch last Friday in the Schoolhouse in Ballsbridge.
The menu was a five course affair, each course matched with a whiskey from Cooley's stable. The impressive meal included seared Dublin Bay prawns flamed in Greenore 8 year old; Carlingford oyster with a Connemara Jelly and a sensational Black Angus Chateaubriand served with an unctous Tyrconnell Port Finish jus. Each course was thoughtfully matched with a Cooley whiskey.
- Smoked salmon with peated whiskey (such as Connemara or an Islay whiskey like Bowmore);
- hard cheeses and a wine barrel finished whiskey (such as Ben Riach Barolo finish) or an Irish Single Malt (Tyrconnell being my current favourite); and
- Fruit cake or dried fruit based pudding and Sherry finished whisk(e)y (such as the tripled distilled Scotch Auchentoshan or Bushmills Malt 16).
We have rhubarb growing in the corner next to our back fence, which makes frequent attempts to subsume the rest of the garden, so expect to see a lot of rhubarb recipes in the next few weeks as I attempt to curtail its campaign on the neighbouring blackberries.
170 grams of caster sugar
Zest of one unwaxed orange, grated
2 Tablespoons of honey
30mL Tyrconnell Madeira Finish Whiskey (or another unpeated whiskey)
2 tablespoons of pistachios
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine rhubarb, caster sugar and grated zest into a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until reduced to a puree. Add extra sugar if required. Leave aside to cool.
In the meantime place pistachios on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Place in 190 degree oven for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Remove from oven and crush.
Whip cream together with honey until thick and then fold in whiskey.
Alternate layers of rhubarb and whiskey cream in a glass, top with crushed caramelized pistachios.
Would be perfect served with shortbread biscuits and a glass of whiskey.