Sunday, March 8, 2015

Photo Recap: Whisky Live DC

Monkey 47
Whisky Live finally made its way to the nation's capital last night; and after just a couple of hours, it managed to turn a wine drinker like me into a bourbon man. Call it magic; but I like to think it was always in me... I just needed a push in the right direction. Whatever the reason, one thing's for sure. Everyone at the Grand Hyatt Washington's Independence Ballroom had a rip-roaring good time.

Over 200 whiskies were available for trial (as well as beer, gin and even chocolate truffles) in addition to live music surrounded by not one, but two dinner buffet stations. Toss in lots of beautiful people, and it's a shame the party had to end.

Vera Kulyabina & Michael Egan from Beam Suntory

I don't pretend to know much about whiskey, but there was no shortage of lessons along the way, courtesy of some truly special exhibitors. Tops amongst them... Brand Ambassador Michael Egan and Beam Suntory's Ryan Lyles. The former served up my favorite sip of the night... Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey, hands down the smoothest, sweetest taste of many. With a 40% ABV, a 750ml bottle can be had for about $40, and features snippets of bourbon and corn.

Top Sip: Greenore Single Grain Irish Whiskey

For special occasions, look no further than Booker's Small Batch Bourbon, which packs a whopping 127 proof (AKA very smooth.) It's high-end (just over $60 a bottle) but trust me, you don't need much to get the full effect. My kind of bourbon.

Ryan Lyles from Beam Suntory

Of course, man doesn't live on whiskey alone; so I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the buffet. Considering food is often an afterthought at these kind of events, Whisky Live did themselves proud with a wide array of choices, including three seasonal salads (Arugula, Spinach & Frisee, Caesar and Three-Tomato Salad) as well as a plethora of vegetables, fried pita and hummus. There were also four entrees to choose from, including a popular housemade Mac & Cheese, Bourbon BBQ Breast of Chicken on Sweet Potato Hash, Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Medley and the pièce de résistance... 72-Hour Prime Beef Short Ribs with a Caramelized Leek Glaze.

Dinner buffet

The chicken (moist, lots of flavor) was my favorite; but sadly, the beef short ribs were riddled with fat. Thankfully, I made three trips for hummus alone... allowing me to drink a little more. Speaking of, hats off to Adrian Mishek from the W Hotel's Pinea, who served up the best cocktail of the evening - the Old Square (Bénédictine, Dolin Rouge vermouth, Knob Creek Rye, Rémy Martin VS with apple bitters and a fresh zest of orange.

Best Cocktail: Old Square from Pinea

Barrell Bourbon

Live music