When we first read the Tasting Notes for Vaults Collection Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano, we were immediately transported to the Amalfi coast. Inspired by the Tasting Panel’s notes, we decided to go for a literal interpretation pairing an Espresso Romano with the Vaults Collection whisky of the same name. Then we took it a step further. With June being all about shaking things up, what better time to show off this new Vaults Collection release than in a summer cocktail?
Sacrilege? Not really, but certainly a little maverick – and that’s the way we like it. Some might argue that a 33-year-old Vaults Collection whisky should never go into a cocktail.
We say, ‘Why not?’ Everyone experiences flavour differently. Enjoy your whisky the way you like it. Equally, quality ingredients make a difference and within this context, using cask strength Society whisky of any age in a cocktail makes perfect sense.
If you’re still not convinced, head here for a deep-dive from spirits blogger Inka Larissa on how Society malts can bring extra texture and flavours to the forefront. The key is to work with other spirits, liqueurs and ingredients that show off and elevate the diverse flavours in your whisky.
With this in mind, Society ambassador Francesco Ramella from our Members’ Room at 28 Queen Street has created two serves to bring out different aspects of Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano. The first pairing is inspired straight from the Tasting Note: an Espresso Romano cocktail served with a dram of its namesake, Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano. The second is a cocktail called the Aperitivo in Trastevere. This serve is a different take on the Rob Roy, inspired by the Italian pre-dinner tradition of aperitivo.
Both serves play with the Highland spirit from distillery 70 in different ways. The coffee serve elevates the light fruity, floral aspects of whisky that has spent 33 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel, while the cocktail is a nod to the elegantly balanced darker notes in the whisky.
PICTURED: Prepare to get adventurous with Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano
Serve #1: Espresso Romano with Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano
On first glance, coffee and lemon sounds like a strange combination, but on the day, this simple and elegant pairing blew everyone out of the water. The citrus brings out a balanced sweetness in the coffee, which in turn highlights the floral notes of the whisky. The apple, vanilla and almond notes described in the Tasting Note are especially noticeable in this serve.
Ingredients: Freshly cut lemon zest; sugar cube; 2 shots of espresso
Equipment: Espresso cup teaspoon
Squeeze the lemon zest over an espresso cup to release the citrus oils Add a sugar cube to the bottom of the cup Pour in two fresh shots of espresso Stir and pair with a dram of Vaults Collection Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano.
Serve #2: Aperitivo in Trastevere
This cocktail was inspired by the Italian pre-dinner tradition of aperitivo. Society ambassador Francesco created this serve using red vermouth infused with coffee beans. The addition of chocolate bitters makes the whisky sing, bringing out the fruity richness and darker notes mentioned in the Tasting Note.
Ingredients: 50 ml Cask No. 70.48: Espresso Romano; 50 ml red vermouth; 10 coffee beans; chocolate bitters
Equipment: Cocktail shaker or pint glass; spoon; ice; strainer; single cask spirits glass, or small coupe glass
Method: Add 10 coffee beans to 50ml of red vermouth. This should infuse for two hours before you prepare the cocktail Chill a shaker with ice Once chilled discard the ice and refill the shaker Add 50 ml of whisky and 15cl of the red vermouth infusion Add 5 drops of chocolate bitters Stir with a bar spoon for 20 seconds and using a strainer pour into a chilled glass.