Ask Liz if she would like a dram, of say Laphroaig, she will make a strange noise and pull a face. She cannee stand the smell of a peaty whisky, never mind taste. This is a goal in life – by hook or by crook I will get her drinking/liking peaty drams. The key maybe to start her off with a cocktail. The flavour of peated whisky can be hard going, peated Scotch is floated on top of a drink, where a small amount has maximum aromatic impact, the Penicillin being the best-known example. Another is to pair peated whisky (from Scotland of course), with another spirit, which helps moderate the smoky influence without burying it altogether. The best combination I can think of is peated Scotch plus a mellow, unpeated whiskey, which means an Irish whiskey. Peated Scotch also holds its’ own nicely against rich or sweet ingredients, such as egg whites, syrups or liqueurs. The Wind-Up, showcases both peated and unpeated whisky alongside amaretto, or geat and egg white.

With this in mind; Peat Beast Old Fashioned  60ml Peat Beast/Bid Peat, 5ml Dry White Port, 1/2 Cane sugar cube, 6-7 dashes of hop and grapefruit bitters. Served with a burnt orange peel.  Or we can move on to a famous Scot; The Rob Roy Whisky Cocktail: 2 ounces of Islay Whisky, 3 quarter ounces of sweet vermouth and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters and serve over ice. Finish the cocktail with a cherry garnish or alternatively, a lemon twist. In fact, this cocktail, unlike its’ name suggests, was actually created at the Waldolf Astoria in Manhattan. The barman decided to mark the celebration of the opening premiere of the Rob Roy operetta in 1984 with his creation, and as such the cocktail grew in popularity very quickly. Today the Rob Roy continues to thrive as a popular choice of drink. Then of course is the Famous ‘Hot Toddy’: but come on, it’s only these past 4 years or so I have got Liz away from toddy’s! 3/4 Cloves, 2 Star Anise, half snap of a cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons of honey, half a thumb of ginger, orange zest, grapefruit zest, 500mls boiling water, 50mls of Ardbeg Islay whisky per glass.

So where do we go? Maybe a real sneaky way into peat, have our usual tasting session (research & development) and wait until she appears silly (guaranteed), then slip a weak peat into her glass, start low and work up – maybe with a dram of Allt-a-Bhainne ? A Speyside single malt – normally used as an ingredient in blends, this single malt puts a peaty twist on the traditional Speyside profile to achieve a sweet, spicy and accessible malt with, as   Allt-a-Bhainne themselves put it, ‘just enough peat to start a fire’.

PAUL MCLEAN her pal, business partner and friend of over 20 years!

Liz – “I can’t help it, I WANT to like them but they turn my stomach, I once said the worst ones remind me of a funeral parlour!!  That’s fun ‘eh?