A year of whisky adventures

Welcome to 2022, and a whole new year of whisky-inspired entertainment. We asked Moa Nilsson to pick out the events and occasions throughout the next 12 months that give us an excuse to raise a glass, explore our wider whisky world and savour suitable drams from the Society along the way. Get your calendars ready!

January: Burns Night

January is the time for new starts, looking ahead and, of course, Burns Night. January 25th is the day to brighten up the darkness with some haggis, cranachan, bagpipes and a dram or two. To pair with the haggis something with a touch of black pepper spice is recommended – but with the raspberry, oats and cream dessert cranachan a wine finished whisky could pair beautifully. Or perhaps you have a very noisy dram on your shelves that could pair with the beautiful sound of bagpipes.

February: Six Nations

In February it’s kick-off for both the Six Nations Championship rugby competition, and new flavour explorations. The Six Nations is the annual rugby tournament between Europe’s finest so why not find some inspiration from the participating countries and see if you might revisit an old favourite, or find a new whisky to explore from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France or Italy. All these countries have some brilliant whisky distilleries that are definitely worth trying. Who will you be cheering for?

March: World Water Day & Earth Hour

In March we find both Earth Hour and World Water Day. In Scotland we are fortunate to have really good water which is essential when you are making whisky. But we don’t have endless energy resources and not every part of the world has high quality clean water either so maybe this is the month to explore what your favourite distillery is doing to become more sustainable and supportive of the environment. There’s only one planet as far as we know that has whisky – and we want to keep it!

March is the month to explore what your favourite distillery is doing to become more sustainable and supportive of the environment

April: National Unicorn Day

No it’s not an April’s Fools – Friday, 8 April actually IS National Unicorn Day in Scotland, in celebration of the fact that the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. So what better than to make this the month of so called unicorn whiskies – those whiskies that we’ve heard of but never seen. What’s yours? Perhaps you might even find more than one. A group of unicorns is actually called a blessing so maybe this is the month to feel blessed…?

May: Whisky Festivals

A highlight of the year for many whisky enthusiasts is the whisky festival season. The month starts with the Speyside whisky festival in full bloom and both the Campbeltown whisky festival and the Feis Ile on Islay aren’t far behind. The past two years have opened up virtual opportunities so it’s possible to tune in from all over the world and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are able to meet up with old friends, make some new acquaintances and enjoy some great whisky.

June: World Gin Day

As we are halfway through the year, perhaps it’s time to take a rest from whisky as the summer is upon us and enjoy another refreshing alternative. On the second Saturday of June, make sure you have some tonic in the fridge and ice in the freezer because it’s time for gin to take centre stage. Nowadays there’s also some curious whisky cask-matured gins if you are looking for something with a flavour in between these two popular spirits. A whisky tonic is not bad either in the summer heat…

July: World Ice Cream Day

The third Sunday of July has since 1984 been World Ice Cream Day, but was originally known as Ice Cream Month. And do you know what goes well with ice cream? Whisky! Hopefully we’ll all have a comfortable sunny warmth lingering in the air and some top notch ice cream weather. Last summer there was a bit of a whisky ice cream float challenge going around social media but it’s also quite nice to incorporate a dram in some homemade ice cream. Lemon, honey and whisky is a great flavour combo – like a summer version of a hot toddy!

August: World Honey Bee Day

In August we’ll have something to buzz about as it’s time for World Honey Bee Day. If you enjoy making whisky cocktails in the summer evenings this could be a great month to support a local bee keeper by buying some honey and swapping the sugar syrup in the cocktails for honey instead. You get a delicious tipple and support the bees – it’s a win-win. Here are some recommendations: Beelicious Whisky Sour, Buzzing Mint Julep or an Old Fashioned Wanna-bee

September: The Gathering

As summer draws to an end and autumn begins, many return to everyday routines after the holidays, hopefully energised after some time in the sun and keen to gather round with friends from near and far. Don’t forget to join in as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is putting on our annual event The Gathering to celebrate our wonderful and global whisky community with tastings, happenings and special releases. 2022 is going to be even bigger and better than before!

October is the month to get stuck into some whisky and food pairings

October: Food Days

In October it’s time to celebrate food pairings! But since we have both the international days of cinnamon buns, nachos, curry, pumpkin and coffee perhaps it’s time to explore a combination that isn’t just cheese or chocolate. What’s the quirkiest pairing you can come up with? Personally I think cinnamon buns are delicious with a lightly peated yet fruity Speyside. And who doesn’t like an Irish coffee with a touch of pumpkin spice?

November: Sherry Week

What better month than November for International Sherry Week? Both sherry and sherry-matured whiskies suit this month perfectly, since the indulgent dried fruit flavours feel like a warm hug in the dark November days. Maybe it’s time to challenge yourself to try sherry on its own, or find a different kind of sherry-matured whisky than your go-to? Or just enjoy your favourite as a warming November treat in the world of oloroso, fino, Pedro Ximenez, palo cortado, manzanilla, cream and amontillado.

December: Tis the Season of Giving

For many, December is the month of giving as the time for advent calendars and Christmas is upon us. So why not end the year by sharing a dram with friends, on a December day before the big celebrations when they might not expect it. A little token of kindness to a friend and fellow whisky enthusiast that we wish to continue sharing drams with in the new year of 2023 as well. What a whisky-ful year it has been!