Most Whisky Dinners are Meh…But Not This One

We'll make an exception for this one featuring two powerhouses.

October 26, 2018

By Neal McLennan / Photo: Ardbeg

Can I get real for a second? I drink a fair bit of whisky. And, in particular, the enticing smokebombs that hail from Islay have an unnatural hold over me. So when I’m tucking into a beautifully prepared piece of meat….I want a glass of wine.

I’m sorry, but my past experience with most whisky-pairing dinners are that neither the whisky nor the food comes off better from the engagement. The oysters work, for sure. Salmon, likewise, but from there I find myself saving my whisky for after dinner and longing for a glass of riesling. The thing is, I’m quite sure I’m wrong about this—I just haven’t come across the team who can show me so. Which is why I wish I was going to the team-up of Ardbeg x Hawksworth next Friday.

Hawksworth needs no introduction to VanMag readers as it’s a been a gold medal mainstay at our restaurant awards for the past decade. But they don’t normally do dinners like this, which why they’re the perfect choice. I’d expect none of the usual suspects trotted out here (the actual menu is a secret) from chef Antonio Sotomayor, who actually went to Islay (not a short trip, btw) to drink in (literally, I imagine) the culture and the food. He’ll be teamed with bar manager Luke O’Toole who’s created a slate of Ardbeg cocktails to match the dishes. And Ardbeg’s Bryan Simpson will be on hand to bring some colour and context to the occasion.

Tickets are $200—not cheap, but I had a glass (okay, I had two) glasses of Ardbeg 10—their entry-level whisky—at the Pac Rim a few nights back for a cool $20 per ounce, so it’s pricey stuff. And wait until you get into some of the rarer bottlings—the Uigeadail, maybe if you’re lucky, the just-released Groovy that’s already long sold out—well, you getting into collector territory. And Hawksworth is, well, Hawksworth, so $200 seems fair.

The date is November 2nd and tickets are available by calling the restaurant at 604-673-7000.

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