A wee wild dram: whisky for wild infusions

By Sarah Watson

Whisky in a glass

The Guinea Pig and I went on a whisky-tasting pub visit around Christmas time for the sole purpose of reviewing some budget-end whiskies to see which we thought would be best for making wild infusions with…Some were just about OK, and there was at least one real stinker in the pub house selection, but anything too harsh or peaty would be too overbearing to suit complex wild fruit flavours, or fruit wood infusions (something I’ve yet to try). We came to the conclusion, after trying several brands, that Famous Grouse would be passable for making blackberry whisky, or smooth, sweet blend Whyte and Mackay Special seemed a even better bet.

However, a few weeks later on Burn’s Night, we were invited by GP’s dad, former Merchant Navy captain Bob, for haggis, home-made sausages, neeps and tatties. Smoked fish is also traditional for a Burn’s supper, and so to contribute to the spread, I took along a wild appetiser of hand-caught home-smoked mackerel crostini with horseradish cream and snipped three-cornered leek.

To accompany our Burn’s supper, the venerable seaman offered us Aldi’s own brand, award-winning Highland Earl Scotch whisky. The verdict was that it’s a very quaffable blended whisky at a budget price. It’s certainly not harsh, but soft and quite sweet with a gentle aftertaste. Some might say it’s not particularly flavoursome, but it’s just what I’m looking for for making blackberry whisky…

Blackberry on bush

The whisky’s sweetness and hints of oak, butterscotch and vanilla will complement wild fruit flavours, and its gentleness means it won’t be overpowering…best of all it won’t break the bank, so you don’t have to hold back on your wild booze infusions. You heard it here first!

Discover  more about identifying and cooking with wild herbs and flowers on a Wild Feast foraging & cookery course> book here.  Get more wild food tips and updates on courses on Facebook and sign up for my e-newsletter for wild food recipes direct to your inbox (option to unsubscribe at any time).

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