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Whisky Live: The ideal drinks festival for whisky newbies

This article originally appeared in City Press.

by: Grethe Kemp | 30 Apr 2017

The first time I tasted whisky, it was stealing a sip from my dad’s drink as a kid. He always had it in a tall glass with ice and water, and it looked extremely appealing with its pale gold hue and droplets condensing on the side of the glass. I spat out that first sip, of course, because as a child it tasted horrible to me. My dad laughed when he realised what I’d done and said “Good, that’ll teach you not to drink alcohol.”

ALSO READ: Whisky for beginners

But, as many will tell you, whisky is a drink that grows on you. As an adult I learnt to enjoy it, having it often with my dad, and always on ice and with water.

I’ve been attending Whisky Live for a couple of years at its Joburg spot at the Sandton Convention centre. It always draws a sauve crowd and you get your whisky glass at the door, a bottle of mineral water, and a bunch of tasting vouchers that’ll enable you to sip on fine brands from all over the world.

Whisky Live is also a good place for newbies to learn about the drink. Try, for instance, dipping your pinkie in a glass and rubbing it onto your wrist like perfume. Wait a few minutes and then smell – you’ll pick up the whisky’s aromas perfectly and finally understand what they mean when they talk about smells like smoke, pear and honey in a drink that used to just smell like ethanol to you. This year, they’re also bringing in bartenders who will make sumptuous cocktails. This is great because even the most hardened whisky drinkers might pine for some sweetness after the first dozen tastings.

Keen to attend?

Whisky Live is happening in Pretoria at Brooklyn Square from 4  6 May. Tickets are R220 from and R250 at the door if the event is not sold out.

Try this recipe for a honey, apple and mint cocktail!

Ingredients:8 mint leaves37.5ml Scottish Leader Signature whisky50ml cloudy apple juice12.5ml honey or honey syrup
Dash of fresh lemon juiceCubed ice


Place the mint leaves into a cocktail shaker. Add honey or honey syrup over the leaves. Using a muddle stick, press the mint leaves and honey. Fill the shaker with cubed ice, whisky, apple juice and a dash of fresh lemon juice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Fill a short glass with cubed ice and pour the mixture over the ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

To win one of five double tickets to Whisky Live, SMS the keyword WHISKY, your name, surname, email address and province to 34217. SMSes cost R1.50. Free SMSes do not apply.

*Please note the tickets are for Thursday, May 4 2017 and are only valid for that night!


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