Food & Drink Festivals
Big Whiskey Tasting Event is Happening Soon in Houston
One of the largest whiskey tasting events in the country is coming back to Houston. Whiskies of the World is heading to Silver Street Studios at 2000 Edwards on Saturday, September 22. Doors open for VIP ticket holders at 5 p.m. and general admission begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $145 and $120 respectively and may be purchased online. The evening features over 200 examples of the spirit.
Besides beginning the evening an hour early, VIP ticket holders have access to special pours, a complimentary masterclass and a cigar as well as all amenities available to the general crowd. General admission ticket holders have access to a complimentary food pairing buffet and can also purchase entrance to a masterclass, depending on availability. Cigars from Honor Cigars can also be purchased and smoked on-site.
Whiskies of the World brings over 90 exhibitors together to pour well over 200 different whiskies. When we attended last year, we were excited to see the majority of booths being run by brand ambassadors, whiskey enthusiasts or educated volunteers ready and willing to talk about whiskey and make recommendations. Novices and experienced enthusiasts alike will feel welcomed and not overwhelmed despite all of the options available.
(Side note: There are a couple of different ways to spell whiskey. The Scots spell it whisky and the Irish spell it whiskey, with an extra ‘e’. This difference in the spelling comes from the translations of the word from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms. Whiskey with the extra ‘e’ is also used when referring to American whiskies.)
The event isn’t just for scotch enthusiasts. There will be a barley, corn, rye and wheat smorgasbord available for every palate. Outside of scotch, there will be bourbons, Irish whiskey, Canadian and even Indian whisky. Not familiar with Indian whisky? Look no further then Amrut, which won Whiskies of the World’s Best in Class for its Fusion whisky, which is distilled with barley from both Scotland and India. Whiskey writer Jim Murray also named Fusion his Third Finest Whisky in the World in 2010. A full list of 2017 Whiskies of the World winners is available here for those who would like to plan the tasting journey ahead of time.
Besides the large tasting floor, attendees can also attend one of the masterclasses led by some of the finest professionals in the business. The Macallan brand ambassador Elyse Blechman is guiding a tasting of different Macallan expressions paired with an array of cheeses that complement each whiskey. Many Houstonians will remember Blechman from her successful career behind the bar at Tongue-Cut Sparrow or from when she won second place in the nation at Speed Rack in 2017.
Those who prefer cocktails to straight spirits will enjoy Mike Raymond’s Pinwheel Old Fashioned class. Raymond is taking guests through three variations of the cocktail with different ingredients to demonstrate how this classic whisky cocktail can be taken to a new level. The Pinwheel Old Fashioned is also on the menu at Raymond’s newest downtown bar The Cottonmouth Club.
Those thrilled by peated scotch should love the “Bruichladdich for All: Islay Scotch from Unpeated to Super Peated” class led by Bruichladdich brand ambassador Erica Beindorff. Islay scotches are known for being earthy, smoky and medicinal but Beindorff is showing that there is so much more to the region. Participants will begin by tasting the unpeated Classic Laddie and work their way through the expressions to the heavily peated Port Charlotte 10 Year Old.
This year, the event benefits local nonprofit Helping a Hero. Helping a Hero is a local 501(c)(3) non profit, non-partisan organization that provides support for military personnel severely injured in the war on terror. Its principal activity is to provide specially adapted homes for qualifying service members through partnerships made with the builders, developers, communities, and the veteran.
With over 200 whiskies available for tasting, please enjoy responsibly and use a designated driver or rideshare service.
Josh Armendariz is Houston Food Finder’s lead freelance beer and cocktail writer. He can often be found on a stool at your favorite bar, sipping a hoppy craft beer and talking about the Astros with anyone who’ll lend an ear. Follow him on Instagram at @drinkwithjosh.