Down in five: Dave Broom

Categories: Expert guidance

Dave Broom, a Glaswegian author, teacher and all round guru when it comes to spirits, on his latest discoveries, different whiskies for different moods, and how a dram blossoms where wine struggles

What’s your favourite whisky for everyday drinking?
It’s less about a specific whisky brand, more about the occasion. As whisky covers every flavour niche from delicate to huge and smoky you should pick one to suit your mood. Get that balance right and you’re cooking. Recovering from a hard day’s working (or shopping) requires a pick-me-up in the shape of a highball made with Talisker 10 Year Old (£45, Cartwright Brothers) and soda, or Nikka From The Barrel (£44, Borough Wines) with ginger ale.

Need to warm up? Take a tip from the Irish and go for a hot whiskey. Try adding a teaspoonful of honey, a sliver of ginger, hot water and an orange twist to a dram of Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old (£48, Cartwright Brothers).

Pre-dinner is old fashioned time (bourbon, sugar, bitters, ice) made with Evan Williams (£38, Bedales) or Four Roses Single Barrel (£45, Borough Wines), while for that ‘I deserve this’ late dram go for something richer and smokier, like Lagavulin 16 Year Old (£58, Cartwright Brothers), or Nikka Yoichi (£78, Borough Wines).

What’s your latest discovery?
There’s so much great whisky being made around the world, it’s almost impossible to keep up. Last week I had a new one from an island in the Arctic Circle off the west coast of Norway. Of the classic countries, have a look at Sonoma Rye Whiskey (£56, East London Liquor Co) from California and don’t pass up the chance to start exploring the amazing whiskies from Japan—Borough has a good selection.

What whisky would you save for a special occasion?
It would be one with a sentimental attachment—to a person, a moment, the place where I bought it. Again, it’s down to timing: who you’re with, and the time of day, though remember if you’ve had a few already you’ll probably regret opening that insanely expensive bottle late at night.

Who would you share it with?
The fact that whisky’s a drink for sharing is often forgotten. Have it with friends, family, and newcomers to whisky. It only takes one well-chosen dram to make a convert.

What’s your favourite match with food?
There’s plenty of distillers who’ve spent a huge amount of time in working out precise matches for food, but let’s face it, it’s a big ask to try and get people to switch from wine (or beer) to drams for an entire meal. I wouldn’t do it!

I go for stealth whisky matches which play to its strong points, such as cheese or chocolate. Here, as wine struggles, whisky blossoms. It’s to do with whisky having lower acidity, lower tannin and enough alcohol to cut through the fats to release flavour.

Try Glenmorangie 10 Year Old (£45, Cartwright Brothers) with soft cheeses, or the same distillery’s Nectar d’Or (£57, Borough Wines) or Glenfiddich 12 Year Old (£25 half bottle, Cartwright Brothers) with cheddar. Lagavulin with a blue cheese such as roquefort is an incredible combination.

Smoky whisky goes superbly with oysters, and seafood in general—even sushi—though you do need to dilute it to get the perfect balance. Stick to a gentle whisky such as Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie for matching with smoked salmon though.

You see, it’s all about balance.