This past week I attended Bauer Kitchen’s Meet the Maker event with Dr. Don Livermore from the J.P. Wiser’s distillery, Hiram Walker. I was so excited to catch this event because Bauer always puts on such an amazing menu when they host dinners like these. As a novice whisky drinker (aka I’ve never sipped whisky neat before) I was eager to immerse myself in everything there was to know about Canadian whisky from the whisky doctor himself.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a bubbly host with a tray full of welcome cocktails created by Bauer Bar Manager Alex Zizzo. The blend used Wiser’s Hopped Whisky as well as Absinthe and a coriander simple syrup. The beer lover in me absolutely loved that this whisky was dry-hopped, so this may have been my favourite drink of the evening. The group grew as everyone mingled with each other and introductions were being made throughout the room before we were directed to our seats.
We were finally introduced to Dr. Don Livermore, Master Blender for the largest distillery in North America. He began to explain the amazing history of Canadian whisky and how there is so much opportunity for innovation within the whisky industry today. It was clear to me how little I really knew about whisky, rye, or scotch from around the world, let alone Canadian whisky.
As Don spoke about the first whisky we’d be tasting, Bauer Kitchen staff began to deliver the first course of the evening: a coffee crusted venison carpaccio paired with J.P. Wiser’s Double Still Rye, a very peppery and robust whisky. The venison was balanced with the crunch of coffee and the sweetness of pomegranate.
Dr. Don took the time to walk us through each different whisky before we tasted them, outlining the story behind how each one was created and the types of flavours we would be finding. It was overwhelming to learn all that goes into making a whisky, I had no idea that there was a possibility for so much creativity and innovation within the distilling process. I have truly been inspired to discover more thanks to Don.
Between each course, we also heard from Jr Sous Chef Joe Coleman about what inspired the menu and how they worked to pair each item with the selected whisky. It is always fun to see the Chefs out interacting with the guests and showing the heart that goes into their menus. It is clear that Bauer is not afraid to showcase their incredible staff. I was greatly impressed by everything placed in front of me.
The third course that came to us was a seared Foie Gras with pistachio and perfectly sweet figs that complemented the unique flavours of the Foie Gras. This course was joined by J.P. Wiser’s 18 Year, a sweeter whisky with a bold finish, and probably my second favourite whisky of the evening, next to Wiser’s Hopped Whisky.
The fourth whisky was a very rare and limited offering. J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrell, an extremely robust and smokey whisky that we enjoyed with an incredible course of lamb loin. The flawless medium rare lamb was tender and only made better by the whisky butter that it was topped with. Corn puée and crunchy potatoes on the side made for a spectacular meal.
Finally, we had the most incredible whisky infused ice cream on top of a dense chestnut cake, accompanied by gooseberries. Alongside this fantastic finale was Gooderham & Worts Four Grain. Don walked us through this very intricate whisky and how each of the four grains brings a different flavour. The barley created a nutty flavour, wheat a bready one, rye a spicy and peppery flavour, and corn a sweetness. These flavours all dancing on your taste buds simultaneously creating a truly distinctive flavour.
Writer & Photographer: Julie Glasgow
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