Switching from milk to whisky sounds like a good idea – unless it catches on and Scotch prices surge

Alf notes with some bemusement that his good mate David Carter, our Minister of Agriculture, is seeking advice from his officials about the cost of milk.

He has been prompted, it seems, by complaints that milk is now more expensive than soft drinks, even though milk is supposed to be good for your health and soft drinks bad for it.

Alf is not convinced by this. He has spent a lifetime giving milk a wide berth, and he remains in good nick (for his age).

When he reaches the age of 100 and is asked for the secret of his longevity, he will say a wee dram every day (of Scotch, obviously) did the trick.

But back to David Carter.

According to Radio NZ –

The minister’s office says the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will look at the current milk market, determine what is driving the increases and make sure a competitive domestic market is working properly.

Steadily rising international prices for dairy solids have pushed up local prices and Fonterra is warning more increases could be on the way.

Fonterra raised wholesale prices 1.4% in January but could have pushed them higher if costs had not been absorbed by the company.

This means the farmers who both own and supply Fonterra are subsidising consumers. Alf expects them to be unhappy about this, because they have their own bills to pay and they won’t take kindly to easing the budgetary problems of householders to their own financial disadvantage.

International prices are forecast to rise by 30 cents per kg of milk solids this year.

Alf is indifferent because he does not consume much milk.

His agitation kicks in only when the price of liquor goes up, especially whisky.

But he is aware of blokes of an older generation who would prop themselves at the bar and drink a mix of whisky and milk, and those people – if they are still alive and drinking that bizarre mix – will be stung by the rising price of the milk bit of their tipple.

If Alf’s constituents are keen on trying milk with their whisky, he will refer them to this recipe although the idea of anyone consuming such a concoction offends him.

Alf also notes that there are some whiskies or whiskeys that have dairy stuff as part of their content – Bailey’s Irish Cream, for example, Heather Cream Whisky Liqueur and Drambuie Sylk Cream Liqueur.

Alf happens to come from the school that insists whisky is best neat. On the rocks, if you must, or with a dash of soda water at a push.

But things have changed.

As far back as 2001 Alf was reading that

…as The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre prepares to host its annual Distillers Fair this Friday it would seem that is all in the past.

Alastair McIntosh, the centre’s general manager, explains: “There’s a cultural belief in Scotland that it’s sacrilege to mix whisky with anything, but the Scotch whisky industry doesn’t go along with that. We say drink it how you want to drink it.”

He adds: “In Spain, where they consume more Scotch than any other country in the world, it’s the 25 to 30 age group who have made it popular, and they drink it with coke, lemonade and just about any other fizzy mixer you care to name.”

Alf is damned sure he won’t be taking his lead on whisky drinking – or anything else much, except bull-fighting maybe – from Spaniards.

But changing attitudes are being accommodated by the Scotch Whisky Association. It published Forbidden Fruits, a booklet of “wicked whisky cocktails” which included one called Scotch Paradise.

According to the report which disclosed this information to Alf, Scotch Paradise is “a drink that breaks all the rules and mixes whisky with milk!”

“I’ve not tried that one yet but my colleagues assure me it’s wonderful,” admits Campbell Evans, the association’s director of consumer affairs.

As for the changing trend, he says: “It used to be that when you went into a pub there would be a bottle of fizzy liquid on the bar, lemonade normally, and it was there for you to pour into your whisky, so really, we have always mixed Scotch with a fizzy liquid, it’s just that in the past we’ve never ventured beyond lemonade and perhaps ginger ale.”

That’s set to change forever thanks to Forbidden Fruits which not only mixes whisky with milk, but uses other equally unthinkable ingredients such as Worcester sauce, Tabasco sauce, and pureed strawberries – thankfully not all in the same glass.

Campbell at least had the good sense to say he was not encouraging anyone to try the recipes using a 25-year-old malt – apart from anything else its heavy smoky taste would probably dominate the drink too much.

“But a blend, or a light malt, usually makes a good base for a cocktail.”

Alf was fascinated to learn from Campbell that blended whiskies have been the most popular in Britain for decades.

They came into their own in the 1880s when a plague of pylloera beetles devastated the vineyards of France causing a world-wide shortage of Cognac which was then the preferred drink.

“Blended Scotch, being easier for the average person to drink that a good malt, quickly replaced Cognac as the drink of choice.”

And he reveals: “It’s only in the last 25 years that malts have gained in popularity, but still, 95 per cent of all whisky sold is blended.”

So which blend is best? “There’s no such thing as a bad blend,” he insists.

Alf will buy that.

He was tempted to suggest families give it a go, too, as a substitute for milk. But Mrs Grumble points out that this would be apt to increase the inebriation among young people that results in anti-social behaviour of the sort that Alf condemns. Moreover it would increase the demand for whisky and result in higher prices.

She can be very persuasive, can Mrs Grumble.

2 Responses to Switching from milk to whisky sounds like a good idea – unless it catches on and Scotch prices surge

  1. christian says:

    thanks for the infomation but i would be glady to know the health implications of mixing whisky with milk

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