Oh What a World…Of Whisk(e)y!

Alcohol! With many different cultural expressions all over the globe its often easy to confuse one expression with another. Take Whisk(e)y for example; Whisk(e)y itself isn’t so much a product as it is a process. Or rather a product that is defined by a process. And that process has different rules and regulations depending on the dirt your standing on. Some of us prefer Bourbon to Rye or Irish Whiskey to Scotch Whisky. But do you know the core differences between them? The answer is more than just geography. Breaking down the different faces of Whisk(e)y and what the deal is with this seemingly silly parenthetical ‘e’ will be the goal of the coming weeks blog entries. So stay tuned!

As a general rule of thumb I don’t like to generalize about the vast world of alcohol too much. Lumping things together in one category and slapping a label on it does a disservice to the nuances and creative mold breaking that takes place at, say, different Scotch distilleries. That said, for ease of conversation, I’ll be speaking a bit generally today. So take this with a grain of salt and understand that the alcohol rabbit hole goes deep. There’s always something more to be learned about each one of these products and the people (heroes?) making them. Conveniently, after your thirst for quality Whisk(e)y has been stirred up you will be able to find some excellent expressions of Scotch, Irish and American Whisk(e)y available at the vomFASS Mall of America location.

This week we are going to focus on Scotch. What is single malt Scotch? Single malt Scotch Whisky is a product that comes from one single distillery as opposed to a Scotch blend which is a product containing the Whisky from multiple distilleries. Historically produced using malted barley, and only malted barley for single malts, Scotch begins it’s journey being double distilled in large copper pot stills. Scotch, by law, must be aged for a minimum of three years in Oak barrels. These Oak barrels are primarily former Bourbon barrels (which by law in the US can only be used for Bourbon ageing once) or former Sherry casks. Only produced and aged in Scotland you will find this Whisky being distilled and aged in a few different regions, five of which are officially recognized.

The Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, Islay (pronounced, “eye-la”) and Campbeltown make up Scotland’s main Scotch producing regions. Here at vomFASS Twin Cities inside the Mall of America we carry a healthy supply of world class single malt Scotches from almost every region (even the not so officially recognized parts. Cool!). Our selection includes, but is by no means limited to, a 17 year old offering from Auchentoshan in the Lowlands. This is one of the outlying triple distilled scotches. The dram is smooth, warm and delightfully complex. From the Highlands we offer a bold but refined 20 year old Glengoyne. Appropriately, Speyside takes up the most real estate here at vomFASS MOA as it is home to the highest density of distilleries in Scotland. A personal favorite of mine is the dark and mysterious 19 year old Inchgower. I love to pour this for guests looking for a Speyside Scotch that thinks a little outside of the Speyside box. Bunnahabain 26 is our one and only single malt offering from Islay. Next to it’s other Islay brethren, Bunnahabain 26 does not cloud the drinker in a plume of peat smoke. Rather, this unpeated offering showcases notes of the ocean that surrounds the Islay region while caramel and soft vanilla permeate the drinking experience. Should you wish to get to know these beauties better than I can describe them, we not only offer in store samples but we regularly hold Scotch classes as well as wine tastings and Mediterranean cooking classes too!

Aside from being a geographically specific spirit (similar to Champagne, Cognac or Tennessee Whiskey) Scotch is produced under strict regulations established long ago that are still practiced today. True, practices have changed and expanded since the first Scot discovered how to make Uisge Beatha, or The Water of Life, such as the incorporation of Wheat and Rye grains and triple distillation practices at a few distilleries. But at its core, Scotch remains a liquid tip of the hat to the wonder of tradition and the inexorable push of alcohol based ingenuity. All the while instilling in it’s drinker a true sense of place. Cheers!

Check back next week as we continue our journey down the winding Whisk(e)y road to Ireland.

Will O’Reilly studies all things alcohol. You can find him at vomFASS inside the Mall of America.

Fall party recipes

Thanks to my friend and vomFASS colleague Melissa B, owner of vomFASS Des Moines, for the inspiration for these fun recipes for witches, goblins and scary clowns. Well maybe not scary clowns! I think they were axed from the season this year. I won’t miss them at my party, will you? 🙂

Morgue-a-rita – 1 serving

1/2 oz vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz vomFASS Passion Fruit simple syrup
1 oz Tequila
1 oz vomFASS Blood Orangecello
vomFASS Basil Citrus Sea Salt, for rimming glass.
vomFASS Grenadine for goulish garnish.

Mix ingredients in a shaker and serve on the rocks, in a salt rimmed glass, and garnish by dripping grenadine down sides of glass. This recipe is easy to multiple in a batch for a crowd.

Ghostly Guacamole! Serves 4 – 6 mango_guacamole_rs

2 ripe avocados
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tomato, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely minced
2 Tbsp vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
1/8 tsp cumin
vomFASS sea salt and Peppercorn Mix, to taste

Slice avocado in half and remove pit. Scoop avocado into medium bowl and coarsely smash with a fork, leaving some chunks. Add remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring gently to incorporate.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately or chill for up to 1 hour with plastic wrap placed directly on top to seal out air.

Deadly Delicious Pumpkin Soup Serves 4 – 6pumpkinOilonSoup.png

1/2 Medium Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 slices Bacon, minced
3  Anchovies (optional)
2 T vomFASS Chili Oil
1 small Pie Pumpkin (3-4#)
2 Mangoes
1/4 cup vomFASS Mango Balsam Vinegar
4 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 T. vomFASS African Rub Seasoning
vomFASS Salt and Pepper to taste
1 T vomFASS Styrian Pumpkin Seed Oil

Halve and seed the pumpkin. Place cut side down on a baking sheet with 1/4c water and place into a preheated 400° F oven. Cook the pumpkin for 40 -45 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a 2 qt pot over medium heat add the chili oil, anchovies, bacon, garlic, and onion. Sautee until the onions are translucent. Peel, seed and dice the mangoes. Add the mangoes and African Rub seasoning to the pot. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until the bacon gets slightly crisp. Remove from the heat and add the Mango Balsam Vinegar. In a food processor place the peeled roasted pumpkin, the contents of the 2 qt pot, and 1 cup of stock. Puree until smooth., add more stock as needed. Return the mixture to the pot and place over medium heat. Adjust the consistency to taste with the stock, then season with salt and pepper. When serving the soup, drizzle a small amount of Styrian Pumpkin Seed oil over the top.

Foodie / Senior Sales Associate – join the vomFASS team at Mall of America!

vomFASS at Mall of America is seeking a senior sales associate who loves to share their passion for fine food, drink and people! Whether you’re semi-retired or just starting your career, I want to hear from you if you are a wine, whiskey, brandy or cocktail geek, enjoy pairing food and drink, and can convert that passion into sales in a retail environment. Must be 21+ years old.

We will consider applicants who have between 20 and 40 hours available to work a variety of day and evening shifts, including weekends. Work life balance is a priority, and we deliberately schedule to ensure all team members are treated with respect and fairness, including their scheduling needs.

To apply, send cover letter indicating why you are interested and qualified for a position at vomFASS, as well as the number of hours you’re available to work per week and send it along with your resume to info@vomfasstwincities.com. Applications without both a cover letter and resume will not be considered.

Sales associate responsibilities include:

  • Greet and engage customers by offering product samples, pairings, product use/recipe suggestions and general vomFASS and prlizziepoursoduct education.
  • Provide a positive, unique customer experience that fosters long term customer relationships.
  • Assist customer in product selection, using cross-sell and up-sell strategies to maximize transaction average, without using high pressure sales techniques.
  • Cashier sales on ACCUPOS point of sale system.
  • Label and package products attractively.
  • Work effectively with co-workers
  • Prepare demos, assist with set up, and promote special events and classes.
  • Fill and label product bottles and stock shelves.
  • Open and close shop, including cleaning and preparing store for next day.

In addition to the sales associate responsibilities, this role may include:

  • Assist or lead the development and implementation of cooking classes, wine and spirits classes and private events

The ideal vomFASS sales associate is:

  • Full of energy and excitement, and an outgoing people person.
  • Experienced and enthusiastic foodie who enjoys cooking and eating fine food and beverages.
  • Experienced in retail sales and customer service.
  • Self-motivated, highly reliable, with unquestionable integrity.
  • Attentive to details, accountable for cash handling and compliance with policies, procedures and tasks.
  • Natural team player, who works well with others, brings fun and a positive attitude to work.
  • Open to giving and receiving constructive feedback to help team members and business.
  • Gifted with additional super powers that are useful to the business, such as elegant handwriting, expertise in social media, talent for beautiful gift packaging or chalkboard art, or is a super-networker in the community.

About vomFASS:
vomFASS Twin Cities is locally owned and operated by Tamra Kramer, her daughter Kristi Kris_Tamand a fun team of awesome people. VomFASS at Mall of America is the first of five locations we hope to open in the Twin Cities. VomFASS is the only specialty food and liquor store of its kind in the world, carrying a full line of gourmet-pleasing products. What makes us special?

  • VomFASS is a German term that translates as “from the cask.”
  • There are approximately 280 vomFASS locations worldwide, all locally owned and operated. Our international headquarters is in Waldburg, Germany.
  • Our products are exclusive; no other retailer in the world carries our line of international award-winning products.
  • We source all of our products directly from old-world artisanal producers who use organic, sustainable farming and production methods.
  • We carry the largest bulk selection of natural and organic culinary oils and fruit and balsamic vinegars in the world.
  • VomFASS won the 2010 German Franchise of the Year and the 2012 Retail Franchise of the Year.
  • Our motto and our promise of uncompromising quality is “Only the Best. Always.”
  • Exceptional customer service is the core success factor of every shop.
  • Providing free tastes to potential customers is the cornerstone of our business model.

vomFASS Twin Cities is an equal opportunity employer.

Vomfasstwincities.com | (952) 426-3222 | info@vomfasstwincities.com