Whisky is a divisive spirit. It’s loathed and lauded in equal measure. Hains & Co is out to change that.
Owner Marcus “The Admiral” Motteram wants to make the dark stuff “more accessible and less serious”. So he’s pairing all whiskies with chocolate bars for the duration of August.
“A lot of people feel it’s sort of highbrow or think they don’t like the taste of it so we thought pairing it with candy bars would make it a whole lot more fun,” he tells Broadsheet.
“I’ve seen friends do it before … where they matched a single-malt whisky with a Twix chocolate bar and I thought, ‘That’s great, let’s take it a step further and try to match all our whiskies with different candy bars.”
Pairings include retro favourites such as Wagon Wheels, Coconut Roughs, Chomps, Curly Wurlys and Caramello Koalas. For his money, Motteram recommends Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups with Ardbeg’s 10-year-old Scotch. “The salty nuttiness and chocolate with the smoky iodine whisky are a match made in heaven and possibly our favourite pairing.” He also suggests Darrell Lea chocolate liquorice logs with Fleurieu Distillery’s Heart of Gold single malt.
“I think people might start choosing whiskies based on the candy bar they come with, rather than choosing the whisky and getting the candy bar,” says Motteram with a laugh.
There’s also Cherry Ripe matched with Old Forester’s Statesman bourbon, Bounty with Archie Rose’s Behemoth spirit (an experimental collaboration with brewer Kaiju), and Crunchie with The Balvenie’s 14-year-old Caribbean Cask whisky.
A ticketed event on August 22 will pair delicately handcrafted treats from Chocolat by Daniela with the grain-based spirit. Savour an Irish Yellow Spot with a honeyed walnut ganache; an Eagle Rare 17 with a dark, roasted, salted praline; or Caol Ila 18 Unpeated with caramelised figs and ginger.
In the spirit of making whisky more accessible, the nautically themed bar will soon launch an all-women tasting club called the Bonny Anne Tasters (“named after a fearsome female pirate”) headed by premium spirits ambassador Erica Richards.
“Often I'll go to spirit-tasting events, certainly on the whisky front, and find that there’s hardly any women present,” says Motteram. “They’re very male-dominated. I know a lot of women who love whisky and would love to come along … whether they feel comfortable or not [is another thing].”
Motteram also hopes to get people such as Angela Andrews from Fleurieu Distillery on board. Keep an eye on Broadsheet for more details.
The whisky and chocolate pairing at Hains & Co is happening throughout August as part of its Whisky Month.