With sunnier months on the horizon, it’s hard not to think of vibrant summer days with a cold drink in hand, sand at your feet. Luckily, we can do that right here in Vancouver! One drink you won’t want to pass by this summer & beyond comes from the most awarded blended scotch whisky in the world, Dewar’s.
THE RUNDOWN ON DEWAR’S SCOTCH-WHISKY
In fact, Dewar’s has been leading the scotch-whisky game for nearly 150 years, and we do have them to thank for popularizing the “highball”. From pioneering, evolving, and refining the double aging process over the last 150 years, to constant innovation pushing the boundaries of scotch whisky, it’s clear that whatever the occasion may be, Dewar’s has the perfect sip- whether it’s on the rocks or in your favourite cocktail.
Plus, Dewar’s Master Blender, Stephanie Macleod, was awarded ‘Master of the Year’ in 2021 for the THIRD time in a row, proving that women really can take the world of whisky by storm.
Stephanie is not only upholding Dewar’s time-honoured tradition of double aging, she is also pioneering innovation with unique takes maturation and unique cask finishes, including Dewar’s 8yr Cask Series line, with an eye on bringing two cultures together, creating new opportunities for folks to enjoy Dewar’s throughout the year, no matter how you like to drink whisky.
THE DEWAR’S SCOTCH-WHISKY PROCESS
Every whisky in the Cask Series starts with a specially made 8-year-old whisky, but prior to bottling, each cask series whisky is double-aged and then finished in hand selected casks for a second aging period to impart a unique and distinctive flavour.
With a blend of up to 40 single malts and grain whiskies, aged for at least eight years (then doubled aged for extra smoothness), before being finished in everything from Port Casks, Rum Casks all the way to Mezcal Casks for up to 6 months, you’re guaranteed a uniquely smooth finish with every single taste.
Back to summertime drinks, one of Dewar’s finest new products comes in the form of the Portuguese Smooth, which tastes just as good as it sounds. Celebrating the two cultures of Portugal and Scotland, this rich and medium bodied whisky brings about the vibrancy and colourful flavours that embody both countries. And with a Port Cask finish, bringing two cultures together has never been so tasty.
Not to mention, this cultural collab has made some major waves in the whisky world. Dewar’s Portuguese Smooth won 1st Place for Best Blended Scotch 10 Year & Under at the 2021 International Whisky Competition, proving that this whiskies complexity and balance is second to none and a perfect base for that summertime cocktail.
Oh, and if you’re looking for other flavourful sips on the horizon, keep an eye out for Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth being back on BC shelves this June! This bold blend of Caribbean and Scottish culture won Best Blended Scotch (3-8 Years) at the 2020 International Whisky Competition, adding to Dewar’s long (& deserved) list of accolades.
When you’re serving Dewar’s to your guests, know you’re serving them the best.
So naturally, we’ve teamed up with Canadian lifestyle expert @mr.stevenbranco. As a man who has built a career out of loving the finer things in life, Steven Branco is all about taste.
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From fashion and lifestyle accessories to the way to travel, eat, and celebrate each other’s company, Steven has turned a great eye for the best of the best into a profession where he guides his audiences through the world of luxury.
As Founder and Creative Director of STAMINA Group, a Canadian new media company focused on hospitality, travel, and lifestyle publishing, Steven knows how to identify for his audience the most exclusive offerings, eats, and experiences, while still taking time out to enjoy each of these himself.
We got the chance to talk to Steven about one of these offerings, Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, and how he finds the time to enjoy a cocktail with the people that matter most while maintaining such a fast-paced lifestyle.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink Dewar’s?
A: One of my go-to ways to enjoy Dewar’s Scotch Whisky is definitely in an Old Fashioned cocktail with Dewar’s 12 YO—but the Dewar’s White Label on the rocks or with a tiny bit of water is a close second!
A: Describe your perfect occasion to enjoy a Dewar’s cocktail, and why!
A: I don’t really need an “occasion,” per se… but if I had to choose one, I’d say after dinner for a nightcap. It’s the perfect way to end an evening with great company, where I would most likely get a smokey Old Fashioned.
I love the combination of citrus, a smoked glass for aromatics, and quite honestly any of the Dewar’s lineup- but for a cocktail as iconic as the Old Fashioned, you’ll probably want to go for Dewar’s 12 YO or 15 YO if available. However, Dewar’s White Label is still one of my faves.
Q: What makes Dewar’s your go-to for a scotch?
A: Hands down the fact that it has both some peaty tones (but not too much) and a touch of sweetness, which makes it just a fantastic, well rounded blend that is perfect for sipping but truly elevates a cocktail as well.
Q: What are your favourite types of scotch whisky cocktails to create?
A: As I previously mentioned, I do love making a smokey Old Fashioned cocktail, but also the simplicity of some straight Dewar’s with a touch of water to open it up… and if I feel like changing things up, I use soda water instead. But another one is a Roy Rob with a maraschino cherry. If I’m looking for something more refreshing then I’d make a Julep (although it does take a little more effort) or even a classic Rob Roy.
Q: What are your thoughts on drinking whisky neat or on the rocks?
A: I’m definitely not a neat room temperature whisky drinker. I much prefer on the rocks or with a touch of water or even soda,as I mentioned above. It really does open up the whisky, so I can enjoy the more subtle character.
Q: In your opinion, why do you think people are often apprehensive of exploring the world of scotch whisky?
A: I think most people are intimidated by how strong it is. Many have possibly caught a sniff of it before and think it smells too much like alcohol, and the fact that it’s a higher alcohol percentage, but the truth is they just might not be approaching it the right way.
Much like tequila, there’s a certain way to sniff it to avoid just inhaling all the alcohol vapours off the top. For one, keeping your mouth slightly open, tipping the glass and slowly bringing it up to your nose and taking it away and then back again, to allow yourself to process it all and then go in for a small sip, roll it around in your mouth and then go in for a second one. It’s amazing how big of a difference it makes. Now you get to truly experience the spirit for what it is and savour the various flavours etc.
But another reason might be just because typically most scotch whisky cocktails aren’t as watered down. They’re typically bolder, and pack a punch for those who aren’t as familiar with it then say a gin or vodka cocktail. But I have yet to meet anyone who’s taken the time to truly experience and experiment with scotch whisky that hasn’t fallen in love with it.
Q: What would be your go to tip(s) for introducing first-timer friends to this spirit?
A: Taking the right approach to discovering the spirit before you drink it is a good start.. Roll it around in the glass, ideally a proper glass – like a cognac snifter, burgundy glass, or a whiskey tumbler- not just a wine or water glass, and definitely nothing plastic.
Admire its colour, look at the legs and how fast or slow it slips down the side of the glass, and then go in with the nose, followed by a couple sips. Then experiment, and have fun with it. There’s no right or wrong way, but here’s my usual process.
Take a sip neat, then try adding a little water. Start with a couple drops, and then a little more. Then, try some on the rocks…whether that’s with a boulder ice ball, a large cube or any regular ice you may already have at home–or even crushed–how it changes the flavours etc. is mind blowing.
Once you figure out the best ways you enjoyed it, you’ll be hooked. Next you can experiment with the cocktails. The best part is most scotch whisky cocktails are quite simple. If you have some bitters and martini vermouth, you’re smooth sailing. But make sure to pick up some quality maraschino cherries too. It makes a world of a difference—only the best, for the best. Cheers!
It’s clear that @mr.stevenbranco knows his way around a cocktail. Whether sipping neat, on the rocks, or concocting a tasty creation, Steven knows that you deserve the best sip, every time.
So grab a bottle of Portuguese Smooth for your next delectable dinner party, or anytime you’re craving a beachy cocktail. ‘Cause there’s nothing like a little scotch whisky aged in Port Casks to cap off the perfect night.
Regardless of if you’re a newbie to the scotch whisky game, or a seasoned vet, you can begin your Dewar’s journey today! Just pop by your fave independent liquor store, and grab a bottle (or two) of Portuguese Smooth today and enjoy it in a cocktail or on the rocks.
The fun part is there are no rules, as long as you’re sharing it with the ones you love most. Cheers, Vancouver.