How do you like your whisky? With water, on the rocks, or straight up? How about with a little jazz mixed in?
Wednesday night we checked out the first event in the King Street Whisky & Jazz tour at King Street Kitchen Company, and we walked away with a richer knowledge of both topics. Who knew learning could be so fun? The series is set up to promote Whisky & Jazz, the latest book from Hans Offringa, a Dutch whisky expert. The book — and the events — draw attention to the similarities between classic American jazz and some of Scotland’s favorite single malts.
Wednesday night’s event was intimate and casual, as attendees sat around the cozy kitchen listening to Hans explain the history and complexities of the four featured whiskies (which we sipped as he spoke). As the faint sounds of jazz music played in the background (just a little too softly), jazz historian Jack McCray took over after each of Hans’ segments, explaining about a similar jazz performer. Both of the speakers’ knowledge of their crafts was impressive and encyclopedic, and listening to them speak while sipping on the different whiskies proved to be beyond relaxing. Though, for me, the first sip of Glenlivet brought back painful memories of freshman year, by the end I was able to inhale the whisky, hold it in my mouth, and really savor the unique flavors in each selection. My tipsiness may or may not have had anything to do with that. After the tasting and meeting both Hans and Jack, we headed over to Lesesne (King Street Kitchen Co. chef’s hat in hand) for dessert and champagne.
If you missed out on this event, don’t worry — there are three more to go, each with different tastings. On Sun. June 14, Hans will be at Gallery Chuma at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Gullah Cuisine will cater this event, and Ann Caldwell and her band will perform live jazz. ($70, $100/couple) On Mon. June 15, head to Halls at 7 p.m. for a five-course dinner paired spicy single malt scotches and a presentation from Hans. ($125, $199/couple) Then on Sat. June 20 at 7 p.m., the Renaissance Charleston Hotel hosts Hans’ presentation with heavy hors d’oeuvres and more tastings. ($80, $120/couple)