Whiskey Kitchen: Rye, Berries And Cream

Few desserts capture the simplicity, bounty, and flavors of the summer that just passed like Strawberries and Cream or Strawberry Shortcake. For a recent dinner party, I opted to make an adult version of this dish – a-la-Whisky-Kitchen. I am giddy at how delicious it turned out.
Normally, my recipes suggest using house whisky since it is going to be cooked and heat will likely alter the flavor profile. But since we aren’t really cooking with this recipe, I wanted to pair it with a bottle that was distinct enough to flavor profile to come through, but mellow enough to blend with everything.
The chosen bottle: Angel’s Envy Finished Rye. The mash bill is 95% rye and 5% malted barley. After aging in newly charred white oak barrels, it is given a secondary age in a Caribbean Rum cask, before being blended in small batches and bottled at 100proof. By itself, it has a nose of gingerbread, vanilla, molasses, and maple sugar. On the tongue, it brings all those along with hints of fig and caramel with just enough rye spice to cut through – making it dangerously enjoyable. 
I thoroughly enjoy this bottle, and refer it as ‘dessert in a glass’. That combined with a moderate high price point finds it hanging out in my liquor cabinet for a while. I absolutely LOVE how the rich flavors of this whisky play well with the bright sweetness of berries, the denseness of pound cake, and the lightness of whipped cream. 
Rye, Berries And Cream

Rye, Berries And Cream (image via David Frick)

Simply wash and pat dry about 1.5lb of fresh strawberries. Remove caps and cut each into 3-4 slices before placing in a bowl. Pour in 1oz whisky, top with 3 Tablespoons white sugar and stir to mix thoroughly. Cover with lid and let sit for at least 4 hours; stirring occasionally.
Forget the tub or spray can! The absolute best way to make whipped cream is to start from scratch.
Place a mixing bowl and whisk attachment from mixer (stand or hand-held) in the freezer for about 15 min to chill. Dump 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (Half and Half will not work!) into chilled mixing bowl along with 3Tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1oz whisky and start whipping. 
You will begin to see it come together in just a few short minutes. Have a little taste and continue whipping until it gets very thick.
You’ll know when it’s done if the bit on the end of the whisk stands up without slumping when you take it out of the bowl. It is crucial to the recipe that you take a moment (by yourself) to lick the whisk clean before anyone else comes in the room.
If you are into making your own pound cake, be my guest. I find the supermarket offerings to be tasty, predictable, inexpensive, and way easier. Cut the loaf into 3/4inch slices (think Texas toast), lay them flat, and cover with plastic wrap until you are ready for assembly. 
Slowly melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, remove it from heat, add 1oz of whisky and stir them together with rubber spatula. You’ll instantly notice aromas of buttery caramel and vanilla as the two meld together. 
Spread this on the cakes before placing them on a medium hot griddle (or grill) to warm them throughout and get a light-medium golden toast. Spread any remaining butter mix on the other side and give it a minute or two on the heat. 
Place the cake on the plate with grilled side up. Mound two spoonfuls of berries and some of the delicious juice. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and serve (as pictured). 
It has beautiful hints of whisky, but thanks to the additional time the Angels Envy Rye spent in rum casks, they remain strictly complimentary. 
I admit, the whisky featured here is not always easy to obtain. Depending on availability, I recommend any other bottles that have been through a similar secondary aging process (usually sherry, rum, or port barrels) as well as many of the Canadian blends that have been finished in Maple Syrup barrels.