November 11, 2020
While my husband John is a whiskey enthusiast, I most certainly am not. Whiskey is an acquired taste, and though I’ve tried valiantly over the years to develop a palate sophisticated enough to appreciate it, I’ve failed miserably…. But after last night, that may change.
This was Ragin Cajun’s third WhistlePig Whiskey dinner and since every one has sold out, I’m convinced there will be others. Attendees enjoyed a four-course tasting dinner with WhistlePig Whiskey pairings while the knowledgeable and enthusiastic WhistlePig rep, Blaine Adams, explained the characteristics and nuances of rye whiskey compared to scotch and boubon. Whistlepig was voted the World’s Best Whiskey in 2017, a high honor indeed considering the competition, namely Scots and Canadians.
Diners were comfortably ensconced in a large white tent, with generous breathing room between tables. Even with all COVID protocols in place, the soft lighting created an intimate setting…. and the Whistlepig only enhanced that.
We were served a WhistlePig Piggyback Old Fashioned with the first course of cumin Deviled Eggs (to die for!). Old Fashions have lately been making a comeback and I know of a certain group of locals that have been scouring our seaside watering holes in search of the perfect one. You know who you are, and you need look no further.
The second course was a rich, creamy Chicken & Sausage Bayou Bisque with an oh-so-subtle bite. The Bisque was the definition of decadence and was served with a generous pour of 10 Year WhistlePig, that nicely complimented such a hearty dish.
The 12 Year WhistlePig was paired with the third course of Prime Petit Filet, Grilled Prawns and Steamed Vegetables. The 12 Year was noticeably smoother than the 10 Year and went down easy with the protein rich dish.
The fourth course was a Butterscotch Bead Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce. John whispered to me that he didn’t care for bread pudding and I thought, cool, more for me. It was paired with a serving of the 15 Year. Isn’t it strange how just about any alcoholic beverage goes well with something sweet? I was tempted to pour the rye over the bread pudding, it was that good. As it turned out, John devoured his bread pudding and began to eye mine. Yes, it was all that good.
To cap off the evening, we were treated to a tasting of the famous Boss Hog, an annual offering that will never be replicated. I learned that collectors will purchase two of these rare bottles each year – one to savor now and one to save for many years down the road.
Considering how casual our lifestyle is here in the South Bay, it was a surprisingly sophisticated dinner. Don’t let the flannel, jeans, work boots and well-groomed beards fool you – there are impressive, educated palates beneath the homespun exterior.
For additional information and inquiries for the next pairing dinner, call 310-540-7403.
Ragin Cajun Cafe is located at 525 South Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, CA.