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WHISKY? WHISKEY? BRAVO!

Quick lesson: Whiskey with an 'e' is American or Irish, while Scottish, Canadian and Japanese producers call it whisky, without. That's about the extent of our whisky wisdom, but Amy Seton, from The Birmingham Whisky Club, knows rather a lot more, particularly when it comes to the most intriguing whiskies and whiskeries (that's not a word, is it?) in our city. Over to her...
THE MUST TRY COCKTAIL
"Shrouded in theatrics and subterfuge, Smoke & Mirrors (£10) is a wonderfully aromatic cocktail from The Edgbaston. My absolute favourite Brum cocktail, it has layers of subtle chocolate, cherry notes from morello liqueur and 72% dark chocolate infused bitters. Champion of the mix is the beautiful sherry influence of the Glenfarclas 105 Single Malt and it's all finished in a cloud of English oak smoke."  
CANAL-SIDE TASTINGS
"Whisky Birmingham is an annual extravaganza held canalside at The Bond, Digbeth, in March. It's some way off, but tickets go on sale on November 1 so would be a great Christmas gift. The event brings global whisky brands to the city to showcase their finest drams. The festival tastings are complemented by a raft of fringe events including cheese and whisky paring and a cigar and whisky masterclass." 
THE (REALLY) PRICEY STUFF
"There's an incredible new whisky store opening in the Jewellery Quarter on Saturday (October 4) called Hard To Find Whisky. They have 3,000 bottles in stock - new, rare and just plain wonderful whiskies. They even stock the most expensive bottle on sale in this city - a 50-year-old, £35,000, Macallan. Bottled in 1983, just 500 bottles were produced from three casks, dated between 1926 and 1928." 
THE CUP OF KINGS
"Hard To Find Whisky also sell some really spectacular tumblers. If you're feeling bold, check out this Cibi Double Blade Runner Glass. It's a black version of the glass used by Deckard in the 80's sci-fi movie Blade Runner. If you're after something slightly less sci-fi and more for the purists, you should invest in a Glencairn nosing glass [pictured]. It's a classy one for the connoisseur."
WHISKY AND THE SUBCONTINENT
"Whisky and Indian cuisine are paired at this Itihaas restaurant event, on October 23. Attendees receive seven courses, each matched to a different whisky chosen on characteristics like age, strength and flavour profile. Whiskies served will include high-quality blends like Royal Salute, which works perfectly with Itihaas's apple and cinnamon samosa with almond kulfi [pictured]."  

BRITAIN'S BEST STREET FOOD BURGER IS BRUMMIE

 
We're a little street food obsessed. Our first ever issue focussed on it and we've been championing the superstars of the citified culinary scene ever since. As much as they (presumably) appreciate our support, they're a little more besotted by the British Street Food Awards, and rightly so. The annual event is the foremost celebration of the wonderful work of the urban cheffy types and this week saw Brummie representatives bring home two of the biggest gongs. Digbeth Dining Club won Best Street Food Event for the second year running (get down there any Friday) while The Original Patty Men, who we crowned Birmingham's Best Burger back in August, won Britain's Best Street Food Burger. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, the Patty Men will be at the Seasonal Market's Autumn event at The Bond, Digbeth, October 25. 

MOVIE CHOICE OF THE WEEK: GONE GIRL

 
David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was marketed as ‘The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas.’ The acclaimed director has followed it up with what may well be the worst date movie of all time – but it’s also comfortably one of the films of the year. Adapting more-or-less faithfully Gillian Flynn’s mega-selling novel, it’s a tricky film to talk about to newcomers. Let’s just say that the initial setup, of an ostensibly perfect marriage hit by a mysterious disappearance, is far more than what it at first seems, and there’s a mid-film twist so exquisitely delivered you can hear Hitchcock chortling from the back row. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike are perfectly cast as the central couple, beautifully embodying a besieged frat-boy and glacial Stepford wife (or is she?), and if things get increasingly implausible as it goes on, Gone Girl is still a superior and classy potboiler. Trailer

FIRST BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY


Fancy taking a look at the first ever issue of I CHOOSE? Here you go. Rubbish, right? Back then it was called ICHOOS and it was sent to just 80 people. Now it's going out to 4,000 and hopefully looks a little better. And speaking of looking good, to celebrate our first birthday, we're giving away three stunning Brum prints from the Brutalist lovers over at art collective Dorothy. The first is their newest. Unveiled this week it's an unfathomably cool image of our love-it-or-hate-it New Street Signal Box. To be in with a chance of winning it all you need to do is be a subscriber. That's it. New or old, you're in with a chance, so subscribe here. Winners are drawn at random. If you'd rather bypass the luck element and purchase the darn thing (£35), head this way. In the following weeks of October we'll be giving away this one of the Central Library and this Spaghetti Junction print, all effortlessly brilliant. Keep opening the email to find out if you've won. 
Venue: Fiesta Del Asado, 229 Hagley Rd, B16 9RP; fiestadelasado.co.uk
Choice: Parrilla Mixta (£37.89)  Chooser: Chef

As the geniuses behind Fiesta Del Asado and Lasan mull over what to do with this prime location they've secured, right on Victoria Square, their current restaurants continue to serve simply exquisite dishes.The buzz at Argentine meat specialists Fiesta was the best we've experienced at any Brum restaurant while our potentially greedy "bit of everything" order (above) meant we could sample their chicken, lamb, pork and beef. The concern on orders like this is that there's so much going on that the quality suffers. Not a bit of it. Every meaty mouthful was mind-blowing. We dined with a Gordon Ramsay-trained chef whose exact words about the meal were brief, but effective: "Outstanding" was all he could muster between bites. Knocked back with the Finca La Colonia Malbec this was an experience, not a meal. Dive in. Full menu  
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” ― Mark Twain
Words: Andrew Lowry / Images: Whisky top (Flickr Commons, Ethan Prater)
Copyright © 2014 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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