Food & drink

Whiskey Galore: Say cheese and pair your whiskey with something fancy

Powers X Mike's Fancy Cheese

WHISKEY and…? Water, ‘white’, ginger, Coke - full-fat, Diet, or Zero (never Pepsi, obvs) - or perhaps just ice. Orange cordial back in the day, apparently, according to my dad. Before he took up vodka in a vain attempt to fool my disapproving mother.

To be honest, the only cheese I’d previously had with whiskey was along with onions and rather crispy but my eyes were opened and taste buds tantalised last week at a Powers X event.

Held in the excellent Reporter Bar in Belfast’s Union Street, Powers ambassador Joe Magowan paired whiskeys with cheeses from the nearby Mike’s Fancy Cheese shop.

Sadly my ‘plus one’ did eventually turn up, and he was extremely fortunate his share hadn’t gone to the angels (aka my belly).

While I waited for him, I chatted to two whiskey newbies; the female of that pairing enjoyed the Powers more than her male other half. Everyone loved the Old Fashioned cocktails served up too, though.

Most people can and will find a way to enjoy whiskey, especially when it’s as good as the Powers range.

The ‘John’s Lane’ variety seemed to verge on what one of my friends says about all whiskey, ‘too burny!’, but my tasting colleague on the night loved it and, on selflessly sampling it a couple more times it’s a real grower, a fiery traditional drop. The other Powers were less divisive; the smooth Gold Label and the classy Three Swallow, which was more ‘one swallow’ for me.

Make your summer by trying out some whiskey cocktails, either at home or out.

The McConnell’s whiskys, produced by Belfast Distillery Company, which I also had the pleasure of sampling last month, were enjoyable on their own or in a mixture. Their Old Fashioned was delightful too, better still the Bostock & Hill variant comprising McConnell's 5-year-old, ginger ale, Angostura bitters, all topped with an orange wheel.

The Irish whiskey industry is entitled to toast itself. Its growth continues, and the island is bursting with ideas and innovations.

Plenty of those will be on show in Dublin next weekend, Friday June 10 and Saturday 11, at the ‘Whiskey Live’ event ( in the RDS. Organised by that city’s Celtic Whiskey Shop based in Dawson Street,, a generous minimum of €10 from every session ticket will be donated to their charity partner Down Syndrome Dublin,


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