Into the fire
We don’t expect members to sit and savour Exp.01 as a dram on its own – although it’s definitely worth a try to see what your palate makes of it. Like its predecessor Hotscotch, our chilli-infused spirit drink can be enjoyed in various ways, whether you want to sip, mix or cook with it
WORDS: DUNCAN GORMAN PHOTOS: PETER SANDGROUND
We doubt those working the stills from distillery 42 back in 1995 could have imagined that their new-make spirit would have ended up in a cask alongside two kilograms of sliced Scotch bonnet chilli peppers.
But it’s no surprise that the Society is uncovering new and wonderful ways to break down conventions in the whisky industry.
Once upon a time this spirit was a single malt that had matured for around 10 years in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. That was until we added around 100 pre-sliced Scotch bonnet chillis into the cask – stripping it of its title as a Scotch whisky. The curious concoction was then left to fuse with the spices for a further 17 years before being bottled this year.
At 55.6% abv these 10cl miniatures offer members the chance to continue the experiment, by sipping, mixing and cooking with this spicy spirit at home. We don’t expect anyone to be knocking it back undiluted, unless you have a particularly strong constitution. But how about adding a bit of spice to your cocktails or recipes?
We went to the Society’s Members’ Room at 28 Queen Street in Edinburgh to get some suggestions from SMWS ambassador Logan Shaw and executive head chef James Freeman.
MIX IT UP WITH A FIERY HIGHBALL
Tonic water; Ice; Lime; Sea salt; 25ml Exp.01
Add a sprinkling of sea salt into a tall glass before following up with a healthy portion of ice. Measure out 25ml of your Exp.01 and add to the glass. Top the glass up with tonic water before finishing with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Click here to watch a video of how to make the highball
Society chef James Freeman has been around long enough to remember working with the original Hotscotch sauce more than 20 years ago. We asked him to work with Exp.01 in his kitchen to see how it could work as a condiment. Here’s what he came up with:
MUSSELS WITH ANCHOVY, TOMATO AND EXP.01
(FOR FOUR STARTERS OR TWO MAINS)
1kg mussels, thoroughly cleaned
2 banana shallots, finely diced
1 clove of garlic
2 salted anchovies finely chopped
Handful of flat parsley, chopped
2 spoons olive oil
100g diced fresh tomato (skinned without seeds)
Heat the oil in a saucepan, then briefly simmer the anchovies until they break into the oil, add the shallots and garlic and cook for a further minute without browning.
Add the mussels, stirring until they are coated with the base ingredients, increase the heat and add the Exp.01, cream and water. Place a lid on the saucepan then cook until the mussels open, approx 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid then add the parsley and chopped tomato, cook for another minute and serve immediately with warm bread.
EXP.01 TERIYAKI SALMON (FOR TWO)
2 pieces salmon around 150g, skin on
2cm piece of ginger finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Make the marinade first, combine the Exp.01, soy, honey with the garlic and ginger, stand for one hour, then sieve to remove the garlic and ginger. Place the salmon in the marinade and leave in the fridge for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Heat a spoonful of cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Remove the salmon from the marinade and wipe the skin side, place in the pan and cook on medium heat until the skin crisps (approx 2 mins).
Then add a third of the reserved marinade and cook for a further minute. Turn the salmon, add the remaining marinade and cook for another 3-4 minutes basting constantly. At this stage the salmon should be thoroughly glazed with the sticky marinade, finally drizzle a small amount of sesame oil over the fish.
If the marinade gets too thick add a little water. If too thin remove the salmon and reduce the marinade without burning, then put the salmon back and glaze it.
Serve skin side up with wilted bok choi, rice and pickled Japanese radish.
CHOCOLATE AND EXP.01 TART
250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
50g brute cocoa powder
100g cold diced butter
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons ice cold water
Place the flour, icing sugar and cocoa in the bowl of a food processor, gradually pulse in the butter until the mix forms breadcrumb type texture (this can also be done by hand).
Remove and place in a bowl, gradually add the egg yolk and water, bringing the pastry together, then kneading briefly until homogenous. Rest in the fridge for at least 3 hrs.
Roll out the pastry into a loose bottom, 24cm tart case. Refrigerate for 30 mins then blind bake with greaseproof paper and baking beans for 20 mins, remove the paper and baking beans then cook for a further few minutes until the pastry is dry.
400g dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1tsp ground cinnamon
150g caster sugar
100g plain flour
Good-quality cocoa powder, to serve
Melt the chocolate and butter over a Bain Marie, allow to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, sugar and cinnamon until pale, light and fluffy. Fold in the melted chocolate, then the Exp.01 and finally the sifted flour. Bake in the prepared tart case for 25-30 minutes until set but still slightly wobbly in the centre. Allow to cool for at least 30 mins, remove from pastry case then dust with cocoa powder.
Slice then serve with sweetened marscapone flavoured with vanilla and orange.