Thursday, January 27

How to Best Enjoy American Spirits this Festive Season


Celebrity chef, radio and television personality, Jenny Morris – the Giggling Gourmet – and renowned Mmisology the Mixologist, believes the versatility of U.S. distilled spirits can shine during the holiday season, whether in seasonal cocktails or enhancing celebratory meals.

To help you gear up for the festive season, Jenny and Mmiso are sharing their tips for how to integrate American spirits into your festive season entertaining using a selection of American distilled spirits including America’s native spirit – Bourbon.


James Bay Lochside Summer Gin No 5.

As one of South Africa’s current favourite spirits, gin is a great drink for summer celebrations and James Bay’s Lochside Summer Gin No 5 is an award-winning citrus-forward gin perfect for light summer cocktails.

Mmiso suggests serving a classic Gin Sour or Gimlet as a welcome drink or apéritif.  “It’s light and fresh, and cleanses the palate,” he says. “People are also loving simple gin with elderflower tonic this summer.”

Jenny adds that gin pairs well with fresh seafood such as langoustines and mussels and can even be added to the poaching water, providing a new dimension to steamed seafood.

Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum

Also read: Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know About American Whiskeys

Nothing says summer holidays like rum-based tropical cocktails, and Whistling Andy Hibiscus Coconut Rum takes the island flavours a step further with an infusion of real hibiscus flowers and coconut. Experimenting with exciting new distilled spirit flavours can add a whole new dimension to meals and drinks, say the experts.

“This could work well in a citrus and coconut sauce with chicken,” says Jenny.

Mmiso says: “In a cocktail, it would be great in a coconut daiquiri with fresh pineapple.”

Sagmore ASagmore American Rye Whiskeymerican Rye Whiskey

American Rye Whiskey generally has a spicier profile than other American Whiskeys. Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey, a blend of two straight rye mash bills, aged 4 to 6 years in high-char American oak barrels, adds notes of candied dried orange, clove, and nutmeg to its spicy complexity.

“American Rye Whiskey could pair well with peppered chicken, lamb or steak – thanks to its spiciness,” says Jenny.

“In cocktails, it would work with ingredients like fresh apple juice, ginger and bitters,” says Mmiso.

Sugar Maple Liquor

While delicious neat, Flag Hill’s Sugar Maple Liqueur, distilled from fresh apples and maple syrup, could also be used to flambé and drizzle over fresh nectarines, topped with mascarpone, for a simple yet showstopping dessert, says Jenny.  Using a uniquely flavoured spirit such as Sugar Maple Liqueur also presents opportunities to give a fresh twist to classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned or to SA’s old favourite Dom Pedro with milk and ice cream, says Mmiso.

Bourbon, made of at least 51% corn, is typically a bit sweeter than other American Whiskeys. Mmiso says Bourbon is increasingly popular in cocktails, and pairs well with hearty red meat-based meals such as steaks, roasts and braais.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Maker’s Mark Bourbon, featuring soft red winter wheat for a distinctive sweetness, adds robust flavour and complexity to festive treats such as Jenny’s Chocolate Bourbon Balls featuring crushed almonds, crumbed shortbread biscuits, cocoa powder, honey and almond essence.

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