Introducing: Cressida Lawlor, Drinks Distilled Whisky Guide
Meet Cressida Lawlor, the Assistant Bar Manager of Sexy Fish London, which recently won Best International Restaurant Bar at the Spirited Awards and is known for its vast collection of Japanese whisky.
Nominated for the 2022 IWSC Emerging Bartender of the Year Award, Cressida is also known for her YouTube channel The Pump Room Bar, a show designed to educate bartenders and consumers on how to make great drinks with an edge of humour.
Tell us about your selection
Japanese whisky can be extremely rare in some cases and also very expensive. Hatozaki Japanese Blended Whisky is a great introduction to Japanese whisky, as it’s affordable whilst having the same level of complexity and versatility as its competitors.
Its pear and oaky notes mean that it makes itself at home across a range of cocktails and occasions, as well as being delicious when sipped neat.
Cressida’s selection: Hatozaki Japanese Blended Whisky
What are the tasting notes?
This whisky is nice and complex as it’s blended using whiskies that have been aged in a variety of casks such as sherry, bourbon and the rare and wonderful Japanese Mizunara oak.
As a result, you get a mini round the world whisky tour from the barrel alone which is a flavour explosion. You’ll taste notes of vanilla, caramel, pear and cherry blossom.
The master distiller behind Hatozaki uses Scotch whiskies in its production, but also believes that the warmer climate found in Akashi where the distillery is based, imparts some additional unique characteristics, such as the salty notes of its seaside location - see if you can pick this up when you sip it neat!
What are the most common misconceptions people have about Japanese whisky?
People tend not to know much about Japanese whisky as it can often be very expensive and they assume it must be different to Scotch.
In fact, in some ways it's very similar in flavour as Japanese distilleries used Scotch production methods when they first started out and often still do today.
There's also less rules when it comes to Japanese whisky which makes space for makers to play around with more complex flavours.
Where's your favourite place to enjoy a cocktail?
It's got to be Panda & Sons. The way they look at drinks from glass to garnish is second to none.
I'm continually impressed by their scientific approach to creating delicious cocktails and how they make this easy to explain and understand for drinkers.