Not everyone is a green beer on St Patrick’s Day person and that is okay. There are many ways to celebrate the Irish holiday. My favourite St Patrick’s Days were with a beer-coloured pint and live music at the Old Dublin in Montreal, but this year I decided to celebrate early with a Teeling Whiskey tasting. If you have “been there done that” for the South Boston St Patrick’s Day parade, and corned beef and cabbage isn’t your favourite dish. Try something new this year. I recommend checking out St Patrick’s Day in Backbar’s Phoenix Lounge with Matt Conner and Teeling Whiskey. I was invited to check it out this past Wednesday and I am so glad I did.
Tastings used to be reserved exclusively for those who considered themselves connoisseurs. That is no longer the case and the best way to learn more or even just to be able to appreciate a drink you like is to attend a tasting. Several years ago, I had my first tasting of wines side by side, then beer flights became popular, and then I had my first whiskey tasting. There is nothing quite like a tasting. It is amazing how much you notice when you sample them side by side. I am no expert in any alcohol aside from knowing what I like and don’t like.
The Phoenix Lounge in Union Square’s Backbar is transformed into a cozy whiskey tasting room with six bar height chairs and a well stocked whiskey bar. At the Teeling Whiskey tasting your journey begins with a brief introduction to Teeling and the other guests whether you fill the room with friends or make new ones, and then the pours begin
You will try six pours and five types of Teeling Whiskeys. As you taste the whiskeys, you will notice different flavours and even mouthfeel. There is no pressure to come up with descriptions and notice anything but just by tasting them side by side you’ll start to find things that draw you to one over another. There were so many variations that I had three favourites.
Throughout the tasting, you learn about the difference in how each whiskey is made and what helps create its unique characteristics. You will quickly discover which ones you like the taste of as is, and which ones lend themselves to make a particularly good cocktail or pairing. Lastly, you will have a choice of one of four cocktails to enjoy with your Irish Tayto crisps.
Union Square has some great restaurants if you want to head to an early Teeling tasting and then grab dinner with your date or group of friends. If you, like me, choose cocktails instead of dessert, head to dinner first and top off the night with the Teeling tasting. Reserve your spot for one of the six seats at the Wednesday whiskey tastings here.