|The Powers be with you! Pic via Sober Lane|
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Sunday, April 9, 2017
Powers to all our Friends
Cork Whiskey Fest at Sober Lane
Powers first made their mark on the Dublin whiskey as the 18th century closed and soon their concentration on quality saw them become the biggest in the capital.
Quality was always to the fore and it was because of concerns that the “brand” was being damaged that led to the founder’s grandson deciding to bottle their own, rather than have it bottled exclusively by middlemen or publicans. And this was where the gold label started; it indicated that the whiskey inside was bottled by the distillery.
That, by the way, was in 1866, about 100 years before Jameson bottled. Powers were always innovative and their release of the miniature bottle, the “Baby Powers”, was a world first.
The current Gold Label was our first sip of the night. Michael advised “when smelling, keep mouth slightly open”. Spice, sweetness and oak and the barley of course all combine to make this whiskey a real pleasure.
By the 1880s, Power were very popular. They were great record keepers too and most of the old recipes survive and that made it easy for Irish Distillers in Midleton (where Powers is now produced) to recreate the old styles. The Three Swallows is triple distilled (like all Irish whiskeys) and is a relaxed and gentler whiskey, according to Michael. It is a true pot still style, smooth and complex, the intrinsic Irish style. The Swallows, by the way, are the whiskey equivalent of the stars on a brandy bottle.
Now we were moving on up to the Signature Release. “Very delicate on the nose… very active..zesty..on the palate..you know you're drinking whiskey”. It has a higher abv of 46%, “one of the reasons for that lovely zip on the tongue…we used only 2nd and 3rd fill bourbon barrels for this.” He emphasised that this was regarded as a grown-ups whiskey, maybe even old-fashioned “but now becoming modern again!”.
Then it was the turn of a favourite of mine, the John's Lane Release, “full bodied, spice upfront, followed by vanilla, honey and dried apricot”. John’s Lane is where the Powers Distillery was in Dublin and it was first made here by Barry Crockett in the 1970s. “This is a big whiskey, big on flavour. By the way, the 12 years refers to the youngest whiskey in the bottle.”
While the gold label is a blend, the other three are Single Pot Still Whiskey, Irish of course! Having done the talk, Michael showed he could walk the walk as he demonstrated his cocktail making skills by making an Old Fashioned. He had a one big tip. “In cocktails, don’t use your expensive whiskeys! Use the Gold Label. It has a lovely sweetness to balance the sours.”
Then there was an exodus to the smoking area to try out the Punch Cigars along with a 12 year old Powers Gold Label. I split with the smokes back in 1994. I did of course sample the whiskey, another family gem. Like the opening Gold Label, this is a blend with a good amount of pot still content and some very old whiskeys as well. Heard that it is going off the market in the near future so best to get your hands on a bottle or two before then.
Big thanks to Powers, to Michael, and to Dee and crew at Sober Lane. Not alone did we enjoy the whiskey but they came up with trays of delicious sliders as the enjoyable evening came to a close. Here’s to the next Cork Whiskey festival!
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Battles at the White Horse
Cork Burger Festival In Full Flow
|This Seoul didn't survive!|
By the time you read this, the White Horse kitchen will be preparing for Round Four of their series of Burger Battles, featuring the White Horse Blue Cheese Burger versus the Mozzarella Cheese Burger. It is all part of the first ever Cork Burger Festival, a week long multi-venue affair that is certainly getting attention.
I was there on Tuesday night, along with dozens more, and the main event that evening was The Seoul Food Burger versus the Pulled Pork Burger. Like all the match-ups, it was a close-run thing and myself and CL were left thinking a replay was necessary.
And, just in case you think the burgers here are a rare event, they are not. Four burgers, including the Seoul, appear on the regular menu. And all the beef burgers are made from 100% Cork beef, wedged between Pana Artisan Bakery brioche buns.
The Seoul, by the way, is a 6 ounce patty; it is spiced and served in Korean BBQ sauce, chilly garlic mayo and kimchi slaw. It is a little spicy, yes, but it is all very well balanced, nothing extreme, just extremely tasty!
And The Pulled Pork Burger is another treat, full of great flavours and texture and that comes with celeriac slaw and their very own BBQ sauce. We shared a fair few bits from each just so both had a good idea of the qualities. Hard to choose, so two winners on the night!
The White Horse is quite a supporter of local producers and we were delighted to be able to help those burgers on their way with a couple of excellent Irish craft beers: the White Gypsy’s Blonde Weissbier and Metalman's Pale Ale.
The Battles of the Whitehorse go right through to the end of the week. By executive order from a certain Mr T, the much anticipated Texan (General Cleburne, a man who once hung out on Spike Island, I think) and the saucy Mexican clash gets a double round, on Friday and Saturday night. Should be a great match-up.
And Sunday is marked by a biblical battle between Noah’s Ark (a double beef burger) and the High Priest (a roast beef burger with stuffing).
See poster at end or check here for details:
And when all the battles are over, or even if you don't like burgers, then don’t worry, you'll find loads to keep you going on the White Horse Dinner menu. Classic local dishes such as Fish and Chips and relative newcomers like the Malaysian Monkfish Curry feature.
Looking for something a little more substantial? Then how about the 12 hour cooked feather-blade of beef? Maybe the chargrilled 10 ounce sirloin? And if you like vegetarian, then they have a Vegetable Moussaka for you and also a Tikka Masala.
And besides all that, there is a big choice of starters and desserts. And you'd never know, there may be a bit of music going on as well. This is a lively spot, with terrific service, and well worth a visit.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Gonna be A Burger of a Week
Big and Bad Boys to Rock Cork
The first Cork Burger Festival runs from January 30th until February 5th. The local cafes and restaurants have climbed aboard in impressive numbers and, if you love your burger, you are going to have some tremendous choices over the week. Below you'll find a selection of what is on offer. More details on the Festival Facebook page here.
The White Horse in Ballincollig have a Seven Day Burger Battle on, with a tasty clash each night. Friday's duel between the Texan and the Mexican looks saucy with a repeat thrown in on Saturday if you want to switch sides.
Soho Bar have joined in the fun with their Three Rebels, three different sliders and a pint of beer for a tenner.
If you’re in Son of a Bun, watch out for the Wonka ticket. Each burger special you order on this fantabulous week will be hiding a Son of a Wonka ticket. If you happen to be the lucky winner of one of their 7 golden tickets you will be in for a treat! “For the next 5 months you will get to have our burger of the month on us!” Limit 1 burger each month per ticket holder.
New Douglas restaurant, 12 Tables, are running a Burger Battle Royale. On one plate you've got the Mick O’ and, on the other, its The Big Fella. That’ll take some sorting.
If you’re up to big, then maybe the Oliver Plunket is the place to be. Here’s the challenge. The Big Boy (he who dares, WINS) 32oz burger topped with Bandon Vale cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onions served with a side of fries; €30, finish it and it's FREE!
If you can't make it to a restaurant, Davidson’s Craft Butchers have offers on burgers all week. Keep up to date here.
You’ll find the Great Griffin in Dripsey at Griffin's Garden Centre. It looks tempting. Check out their Facebook page for giveaways.
And be sure too to tie up the horse at the Bad Boys where you can tuck into their 8oz Smoked Rodeo Burger topped with Chilli Con Carne Cheese and Sour cream. Bad!
The Meatball Place are also on board with a selection of Speciality Burgers, not just for the week, but for the month!
Nine Market Street in Kinsale are doing a four-course Burger meal (dessert is an ice-cream burger). A fab meal at a great price of €25.00 the lot. Date is Saturday the 4th from 6.00pm.
Lots more places involved including the Silly Goose (with Ali’s Kitchen). Check it all out on festival’s Facebook page here.