SPIRIT: Ardbeg Corryvreckan Islay Single Malt Whisky. SAYS WHO?: Lew Bryson, Pennsylvania-based managing editor of Malt Advocate magazine. WHY: Islay whiskies, made on an island off of Scotland’s west coast, are prized for their smoky, peaty quality. HOW: Start out neat, then add “a tiny bit of water — three drops at time,” says Bryson, “or you’ll have to add more whisky, and we know how that ends.” BUY: $84.99 for a 750ml bottle through the PLCB.
WINE: Domaine Philippe and Vincent Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Syrah, Rhône Valley, 2006. SAYS WHO?: Scott Turnbull, Four Seasons sommelier. WHY: The smoky flavors in wines come from both the terroir and the toasting of the wine barrels. This syrah, says Turnbull, incorporates plummy flavors, black pepper and the aroma of a winter evening when people are lighting their fireplaces. HOW: Decant and serve in a “good-sized” glass. BUY: $17.99 for a 750ml bottle through the PLCB.
BEER: Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lager. SAYS WHO?: Doug Hager, owner of Brauhaus Schmitz. WHY: The Schlenkerla brewery in Bavaria has been making rauchbier (which means “smoke beer”) for more than 600 years, using smoked malt. This Helles-style lager doesn’t actually contain any smoked malt; residual smokiness from the brewery’s kettles imparts what Hager calls a “subtler, more accessible flavor.” HOW: Serve in a handled half-liter mug. BUY: $6.50 per bottle at the Foodery, 837 North 2nd Street, 215-238-6077, fooderybeer.com.