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The Golden Spike

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 6, 2010

I have made no secret of the fact that I like to make cocktails from premium spirits.  I occasionally receive a little grief on this blog from persons who feel it is their duty to inform me that premium spirits must not be subjected to the indecency of cocktails, or bar drinks.  Their vitriol is particularly venomous when I happen to suggest mixing with a particular spirit they enjoy, in a bar drink which contains soda as one of its constituents.

This attitude seems to be the strongest with those who have just discovered Single Malts. Case in point, when I first published a certain recipe after my review of Johnny Walker Gold Label, I did not receive a peep of protest.  But when I published essentially the same suggested recipe after my review of Glenrothes Select Reserve Single Malt Scotch, howls of protest flooded my comments box. (For the record I simply delete comments which have no basis of intellectual thought.)

Now of course you know the hilarious part;  Johnnie Walker Gold Label is a highly decorated Scotch Whisky.  It has been regaled as one of the World’s finest whiskies by the world’s leading expert on Whisky, Jim Murray, who marvels at its complexity and outstanding flavour.  Although it is a blend, the constituents of the blend are well aged single malt whiskies from various distillers throughout Scotland.

On the other hand, Glenrothes Select Reserve happens to be every much as blended as Johnnie Walker Gold.  The difference is that the Select Reserve happens to be blended from single malt whiskies from one particular distillery. These whiskies used in the blend are not made in the same style nor are they from the same years.  They just happen to be from the same distillery, so the Glenrothes Select Reserve  can carry the title of  Single Malt Whisky on its label.  And because of the words on the label, I receive vitriolic comments from persons who obviously put their pretense ahead of their palates.

Oh well, each to his own, but for now I’m going to continue my experimentation good or bad and stay in a world where I can revel in the glorious exploration and discovery of  new creations, with or without soda.

Here is my controversial cocktail:

The Golden Spike

In a Glencairn Glass:

Mix an ice-cube with
1 1/2 ounces of Scotch Whisky (Blended or Single Malt) and
1 1/2 ounces of Ginger Ale or Sprite



In addition to this bar drink I added about ten more recipes to the “Whisky Recipe” section.  Most are my own personal creations, and some use ‘single malts’ and some do not.  Please enjoy responsibly!


9 Responses to “The Golden Spike”

  1. powderhound said

    It just about killed me to watch one of my friend drop the last bit of my bottle of Glenmorangie into some Coke awhile back, but I thought to myself that he’d be drinking the exact same amount with or without the Coke and kept my tapped shut. And guess what – we both enjoyed our drinks and had a fun time that night.

    That said, I usually keep some lower cost spirits on hand for those that do want want to mix, as most of my friends that do mix really wont notice the difference anyways!

    • Some of the best spirits also happen to be low cost. Flor de Cana Rums come to mind, as does Highland Park and Alberta Premium whisky, and Herencia de Plata Tequila (I through that in because I know you like tequila Powderhound). All of these spirits are top notch sippers at prices that are so reasonable that mixing them in cocktails is relatively inexpensive and painless.

      But to your point, when I offer someone a drink, I might suggest a way he (or she) could enjoy it, But I would never imagine withdrawing my generosity if they preferred to enjoy it a different way.

  2. Glenrothes Select Reserve happens to be every much as blended as Johnnie Walker Gold

    I see what you mean (SR contains different casks from different years), but with these words it’s just not true!
    Blended whisky = grain + malt whisky. A lot of words have a specific meaning in the whisky world.

    • Blended whisky = grain + malt whisky.

      I do not think that is exactly true. My understanding is that a “Blend” can also be like Johnny Walker Gold, a blend of single malts from different distilleries. (I can find no evidence of any grain used in the Johnny Walker Gold blend.) The term “vatted Malt” can also be used here, but almost no one refers the the Johnny Walker Gold as a vatted malt, so I have not either.

      I also used the term “blended” in my posting as a verb, (quite purposefully), to avoid that quagmire. When used as a verb the term refers only to the act of blending and not to any particular style of spirit. Although upon rereading my post I can see how it might have been taken as a noun.

      My Point was that the only difference between the way Johnny Walker is ‘blended’ and the way Glenrothes is ‘blended’, is that the single Malts in the Glenrothes all come from the Glenrothes Distillery, but the Single Malts used in the Johnny Walker ‘Blend’ come from different distilleries.

      • I noticed the other day when doing a little research, that the scenario I painted with respect to blends is changing. The SWA now allows whiskies blended from single malts from different distilleries to be designated as blended malts. Still, the word ‘blend’ appears to be the proper descriptor for JW Gold.

  3. Paul Gifford said

    Ha that’s funny! Good for him I suppose, broaden the horizons and whatnot. In all honesty I’m just not much of a cocktail person. Ive been served some cocktails with decent stuff in them (I once had a whisky sour with knob creek..shh don’t tell though) and I honestly just preferred it neat or with a drop of water. Different palettes I suppose.
    That said, I do always enjoy seeing what crazy cocktail you’ve come up with for your reviews, and perhaps I’ll be tempted to try again in the future…

  4. Paul Gifford said

    While I believe you and I have discussed my disagreement with the whole mixing premium spirits, working in the liquor industry I learned long ago that every person enjoys their drink(s) a little bit differently. And while I can’t see myself drinking scotch (or good rum or even bourbon) on the rocks (let alone in a cocktail) any time soon, I’m glad that you and others enjoy the experimentation of mixing. After all, I’d rather have someone enjoy a drink in their own way then have it sit unopened on a shelf somewhere!

    • Good to hear from you again on my Blog Paul, and also you too Jason.

      Paul, I spoke to Cameron the other day and learned that he had finally broken down (after reading my blog too much) and mixed a Cuba Libre with a premium rum, (Havana Club Double Barrel). Now he doesn’t really know why he never tried it before, A premium Cuba Libre is so much nicer than one mixed with a lessor rum.

      And just for the record, I do sip my premium rums, my premium whiskies and my premium gins, straight and on the rock. I just also use them in cocktails as well because great spirits make great cocktails.

  5. Keep up the noble fight! The great feature of the internet is that it democratizes information. No longer is the public at the mercy of whisky industry tasting notes that are invariably glowing. Single malt used in a mixed drink, hey, sure why not. To each his own. Just as I would never tell you how to dress, nor would I arrogantly declare that you should not use single malts or other premium whiskies as ingredients in mixed drinks.



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