The Black Grouse ~ The Famous Grouse has grown into a covey!  Scotland's best selling scotch has a new peatier, slightly darker and brooding brother. Harvard and Stone hosted the Los Angeles launch party! featured post *tasteologie

The Black Grouse ~ The Famous Grouse has grown into a covey! Scotland's best selling scotch has a new peatier, slightly darker and brooding brother. Harvard and Stone hosted the Los Angeles launch party!

November 18th, 2011

The Famous Grouse was actually the first blended scotch I ever tried. It was tasty, affordable and had a name that was fun to say. It was just what a budding scotch drinker needed.  So when I learned that a new grouse was coming to town I was immediately excited to try it.  Last night The Black Grouse was ushered into Los Angeles with a fun launch party in Harvard and Stone's back room.  The event was hosted by the Onion's Baratunde Thurston.  The combination of The Black Grouse and his upcoming book How To Be Black led to some laughs!  They gathered three bartenders from across the city to try their hand at using this new ingredient and then asked the party go-ers to choose their favorites.  While I certainly can't claim credit... all my favorites won!

Harvard and Stone is located near the corner of Harvard and Hollywood boulevards in Thai Town, Los Angeles.
The space has a raw unfinished feel to it with lots of almost steam punk touches. While the decor feels of another era, the drinks program is definitely of the now.
The new grouse features a great smokey peaty character. While smoke is the dominant flavor it doesn't overwhelm... you can even taste some notes of chocolate mixed into the slightly darker scotch. I was curious how it would contribute in a cocktail.
The bartenders soon set to work and one after another whipped out drink after drink.
Joe Brooke offered a Como Whiskey Para Chocolate, a playful blend of 2 oz. of The Black Grouse, .5 oz of Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, .25 oz. of Marie Brizard Creme de Cacao, and a couple dashes of celery bitters. The chocolate pairs with the scotch wonderfully... it accents its sweetness and subdues its smokey flavors.
Jason Bran also honed in on the chocolate with his Smoked Cherry Sour. This drink takes its inspiration from the whiskey sour, but matches 1.5 oz of The Black Grouse, .75 oz. of Lemon Juice, .75 oz. Marasca Cherry Syrup, egg white, 2 dashes of Fee Bros Aztec Chocolate Bitters, and a little bit of fresh cracked clove. The clove dries out the finish of the drink and the chocolate bitters really come out in the bouquet. This drink makes you completely rethink the humble whiskey sour.
Harvard and Stone's own Lindsay Nader also jumped into the mix with her playfully named Sean Connery at the Beach. She turned scotch into a tiki inspired drink and blended 2 oz. of The Black Grouse, with .5 oz of fresh lime juice, .5 oz of coconut syrup, and .5 oz of Passao Passionfruit Liqueur. She also added toasted coconut shavings as a garnish which gave the drink an interesting texture.
The space's grittiness made it a fitting venue to premiere The Black Grouse. Each of the bartenders and their creations were all very distinctive and it was great to be able to stay put and still have so much variety.
It was also a fascinating showcase of shaking styles. Here Jason Bran works two shakers at once to try and keep up with demand!
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