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Sometimes you need a little nudge to try something different – but many of my most memorable spirits experiences have been when I’ve been out of my usual comfortable whisky-drinking zone.

A bourbon Old Fashioned in the 404 Kitchen bar in Nashville after touring the distilleries at Jack Daniel’s and Corsair. A cognac-based ‘Summit’ cocktail on the banks of the River Charente in France.

A ‘blanche armagnac’ aperitif before dinner in Gascony. As Inka Larissa writes in this issue of Unfiltered, a cocktail or refreshing long drink can be just the ticket in summer – and maybe this month is time to return to original ‘Roaring Twenties’, when whisky was a key ingredient in many cocktails.

If you’re ready to broaden your horizons, we have plenty of ideas to inspire you. Our four UK Members’ Rooms have come up with a range of fantastic whisky cocktails from across our spectrum of flavour profiles, with easy-to-follow instructions. And if you fancy trying a fiery Blue Blazer, we reflect on the crazy story of its inventor, the original cocktail superstar Jerry Thomas.

That’s not the only history worth digging into in this issue – Leslie Hills has pulled together a fascinating insight into the ‘stories of the stones’ at our 28 Queen Street Members’ Room. And for a unique perspective on six decades of working in the Scotch whisky world, be sure to read the story about Scotland’s longest-serving distiller, Dennis Malcolm.

Mix yourself something tall and refreshing before you take the plunge.