EatInEatOut Holiday 2014 - Page 77

Instead of port, look for Madeira: Instead of Scotch, try an aged rum: During the cooler months, I love to enjoy a well-aged brown spirit (read scotch, bourbon, rum, cognac) as a digestif after dinner. Scotch is a malt or grain whisky, traditionally made from barley, from Scotland. Its flavours can range from sweet to earthy to spicy to smoky and salty. Single-malt scotch is a nofail gift for any spirits aficionado on your list, but aged rum can delight just as much. Rum is distilled from molasses or sugar cane juice, and, unfortunately, much of what we see on store shelves today is of the mass-produced variety that is best mixed with coke. However, there are a few rums out there, some aged 10 or more years, that are as delicious as they are complex. These rums are meant for sipping and are sure to impress any whisky lover on your list. El Dorado Special Reserve 15 Year Old Rum Guyana $59.95 This rum was one of the very first aged spirits I remember having – and it was an “ah ha” moment that changed how I looked at rum and opened the door to a whole new world of spirits. Deep amber in colour, this rum is rich with flavours of toffee, vanilla, spice and toasty oak. Extremely smooth and balanced, it is best enjoyed neat. If you love sticky toffee pudding (I know I do!), this rum would be a home run match paired with this classic dessert. Port has always been a holiday favourite. Whether it is red port or tawny port, the style of wine is synonymous with the festive season. Port is (of course!) made in Portugal in the Porto region, and is a fortified wine (usually 16-20% abv). Hailing from the same country of origin is the often-overlooked sibling to port, Madeira. The islands of Madeira from which the wine gets its name are l ocated over 900km southeast of Lisbon in the North Atlantic Ocean. Madeira, like port, is a fortified wine, and during production the wine is gently heated and exposed to the air to give an oxidative character to the finished wine (similar to sherry or tawny port). The styles can range from dry to sweet, and because of the way in which the wines are made, they age remarkably well and also have a considerable shelf-life after opening. Justino’s 10 Years Old Malvasia Madeira Madeira, Portugal $42.95 Justino’s was established in 1870 and is among one of the oldest producers on Madeira. This style of fortified wine is similar in character to a tawny port. Made from the grape Malvasia, it is medium sweet with notes of burnt sugar, nuts and vanilla. This would be perfect paired with a traditional Christmas pudding. On a said note, this is Allison’s last column for EIEO. I hope you have enjoyed her work as much as we loved publishing it. Let’s wish her much luck in all future projects and, cheers! WWW.EATINEATOUT.CA 77