Irish Whiskey is booming again. Try pairing with mashed potato cakes topped with smoked salmon for a special treat.
A bit later this month, on March 17th the Emerald Isle along with Irish people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Are you one of them?
St. Patrick’s is the day when famous landmarks around the world will go green, from Niagara Falls to the Sydney Opera House, Sky Tower in Auckland, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Bled Castle in Slovenia, Empire State Building in New York, and Chicago River in Chicago to name just a few.
The closest of global landmarks illuminated green on St. Patrick’s are the famous Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfalls right at the German-Swiss border – and they are firmly on my bucket list for that special occasion!
Sadly, it won’t happen this year, so I am taking consolidation in Irish Whiskey tasting and Irish food.
I’ve kept a close eye on the growing Irish distillery landscape, and I am really excited to share some background and tasting notes on the excellent West Cork Single Malt Virgin Oak Irish Whiskey, finished in Virgin oak casks.
Aging and finishing whisky/whiskey in casks of fortified wines and different spirits is an exciting new trend that’s just started to take hold in the whisky world – so watch this space for more to come.
About West Cork Distillers
John O’Connell and cousins Dennis and Ger McCarthy are three childhood friends who in 2003 saw their dream come true to open their own distillery. Initially distilling from a small space in the house of Dennis McCarthy, they finally moved West Cork Distillers to Skibbereen, the unofficial capital of West Cork in 2014. But it still took until in 2020 they opened their current space, new the largest exclusively Irish owned distillery in Ireland.
The distillery today produces three different lines of spirits: West Cork Irish Whiskey, Garnished Island Gin, and Two Trees Vodka.
Included in the West Cork range are various single malt and blended whiskeys. All of them are produced in small batches, triple-distilled, non-chill filtered and only carefully selected local ingredients are used.
Each of the single malts are aged in first-fill bourbon casks and then finished in different casks previously used for a wider range of spirits and fortified wines from bourbon to rum, stout, sherry, calvados, port, virgin oak or even IPA.
Tasting Notes: West Cork Single Malt Virgin Oak Cask Irish Whiskey
Part of the cask finish series, West Cork Single Malt Virgin Oak Cask Whiskey is first matured in bourbon oak while then finished in Virgin oak casks.
On the nose, aromas of vanilla and fresh wood, hay, and fruits.
On the palate, light and fruit-forward with notes of vanilla and malt, followed by notes of tropical fruit and black pepper.
Finish: Medium-long finish with exotic fruit and citrus notes.
You can enjoy the West Cork Single Malt Virgin Oak Cask Whiskey pour, over ice or mixed into a cocktail; whatever your preference.
You can also enjoy a glass of West Cork Single Malt either as aperitive or digestive, or alongside a range of different foods.
If like me, you will want to go with the food pairing. So definitly try it with the traditional Irish potato cakes.
Irish potato cakes are easy to make and are great to make ahead and just finish when your guests arrive, so they are the perfect appetizer for your next party.
Recipe: Irish Potato Cakes with Smoked Salmon
350 g potatoes
100 g all-purpose flour
2 small egg yolks, beaten
3 tablespoons chives, chopped
150 ml crème fraiche
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
200 g smoked salmon, thinly sliced
a dash of olive oil, plus more for frying
Over medium heat, cook potatoes until tender. Set aside to let cool, then peel and using a fork mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, mix mashed potatoes, flour, egg yolk and chives until combined, then lightly knead together. Add more flour if too wet.
Dived the potato mixture into six to eight portions.
On a flour-dusted surface, roll each portion into a ½ cm thick cycle. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until needed.
In a small bowl, mix crème fraiche, horseradish, and lemon juice. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Cook the potato cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden-brown and lightly crisp.
Serve topped with the crème fraiche mixture and slices of smoked salmon.