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Over at my other blog I’ve written up my thoughts on the Birmingham Whisky Club which I attended recently.  My new year’s resolution this year was to learn more about alcohol, so this fits in nicely.

Sitting in a room with a bunch of people tasting whisky might not be to everyone’s taste but it’s actually a really fun way to learn more about the spirit and was a great way to try a range of whiskies that I wouldn’t have ordinarily, particularly as one of the bottles cost £160!  Six whiskies of different ages, some single malt and some blended and lashings of storytelling about the history of whisky making is certainly a way to encourage people to the benefits of a dram of the good stuff.  Tasting the difference in whiskies aged in sherry and bourbon barrels and the note of fruitiness  gave me a few ideas for some cakes to try out later!

I’ve also been attending a series of Rum Clubs at Island Bar which have been doing a fine job of extolling the virtues of rum.  These are even more informal, mainly by virtue of the fact that they’re mainly attended by bartenders as rum doesn’t have quite the same reputation as whisky.  It’s only really in the last five years that the idea of rum as a sipping spirit has become acceptable (largely helped by El Dorado 15 year old rum winning a major award some time in 1997/8).  But given that before this year rum was a spirit I didn’t really care much about, these events have been a good way to view the spirit in a different light and I’m really appreciating it a lot more – I just wish other non-bartending folk would too!

As well as teaching me more about whisky and rum these clubs have been giving me a better understanding of the different notes to find in the spirits.  It’s been a great way of being able to identify complementing flavours and hopefully inspire some more cakes!  It’s definitely worth having a look around to see whether bars or specialist shops near you are also running whisky/rum clubs.