It's World Whisky Day on Saturday, May 18, declared last year by a Scottish college student named Blair Bowman who saw the need to hold an annual celebration of the spirit. He figured it was only fair to designate one for his country's drink of choice, seeing as how there were world days set for beer, gin and vodka.
It may go without saying that the day calls for whisky of Scottish origin. Unlike its American and Irish counterparts, this is whisky without the 'e', of which Scots are apparently adamant. (But in a real pinch, you could consider Scotch-inspired versions. According to The Kitchn and Grammarist, Canadian and Japanese whisky take the spelling in the name and approach of their Scotch predecessor.)
Meant to complement a previous list of top bars, we put together a short list strictly for whisky sippers, selected with a nod to locales across L.A. and organized according to alphabetical order:
Newer to the scene in both Pasadena and the greater bar circuit, The Blind Donkey is almost all business when it comes to spirit with one giant room. The menu skews American whiskeys, but there is a sizable range of Scotch whiskies too. There are flights for beginners unsure at which nuance they prefer their whiskies to be smoky, viscous, or sweet. On weekends, don't be surprised if you have to enjoy your whisky standing straight up with the likelihood of large social groups occupying several tables at once. 53 East Union St., Pasadena; (626) 792-1833.
2. Plan Check
More a gastropub than bar, Plan Check nevertheless has a list of Japanese whiskys on menu. We're talking some of Japan's best like Suntory 12-Year Hakushu, which “resembles a Highland malt, where the peat accents hang in the background while gorgeous, pristine fruit elements, apple and pear, hold sway.” There is also the 12-Year Yamazaki Single Malt, described by Patrick Comiskey as a more approachable option with a creamier and smokier bent. 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. Los Angeles; (310) 288-6500.
We've highlighted Neat in the past, but some good places bear repeating — if only to reconfirm that a place is still worthy of the praise. The Glendale bar is for afficionados who want their whiskies unadulterated by the clichés of an L.A. nightlife. At the same time, there are no better whisky/whiskey bars for dabblers and beginners who can get a drink pairing (spirit plus chaser) customized after a quick taste profile done by the bartender. 1114 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale; (818) 241-4542.
And in related news:
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