Don Kavanagh is the editor of Hospitality magazine.

Don Kavanagh: New old favourites

By Don Kavanagh


Bars overflow with appealing choices, notes Don Kavanagh, so give in to them.

Treat your palate to new favourites Don Kavanagh advises. Photo / Thinkstock
Treat your palate to new favourites Don Kavanagh advises. Photo / Thinkstock

It can be easy to fall into a rut when it comes to your tipple of choice.

On the one hand, it is nice to see people settle on a favourite beer or wine; it shows they are happy to find a drink that suits them, rather than simply following the herd and drinking what they feel they should.

But there is always a danger of becoming hidebound in our choices, something I realised recently.

I have loved Guinness from the time I first started drinking, but sometimes I feel as though I order it simply as a default option - walk into bar, greet bartender, order Guinness, pay - without thinking about what I really feel like drinking.

I'm the same with spirits. I've loved whisky in various forms ever since my mother rubbed it on my gums when I was teething (she is a rather "individual" type of parent), but I despair when I find myself automatically ordering my usual tipple.

It's not that I've suddenly gone off Black Bush, Maker's Mark and Springbank, but there is so much choice out there you can have a different drink for each day of the year and for every mood.

So, recently, I've been making a point of shifting my gaze along the shelves in bars, looking for something I haven't tried before or something I haven't had in ages. You don't have to compromise your standards and I certainly don't do that, but it adds a refreshing new element to a night out.

This new regime in my drinking-thinking has also been rewarding. I dipped into a bottle of Edradour single malt recently, which I hadn't had in more than a year. It was gorgeous, packed with all the lovely rich, fruit flavours I remember. I've also made some new friends, as it were, two in particular.

Kraken spiced dark rum is a beauty, packed with coffee, vanilla and liquorice flavours and a robust rum character, with a lovely smooth finish.

In the white spirits department, Gin Mare is a beautifully aromatic gin, with Mediterranean flavours of olive, basil and rosemary mingling with the usual juniper notes. Excellent in martinis, it's well worth seeking out.

So don't simply fall back on your old reliables. Be adventurous, be daring and prepare to be very pleasantly surprised.

- Herald on Sunday

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