The Scottish Arms' "Whisky After Dark" Hits the Spot


       The whiskey lineup. | Pat Kohm
  •        The whiskey lineup. | Pat Kohm

The Scottish Arms (6-10 South Sarah Street; 314-535-0551) has made a remarkable discovery: When you take top-shelf whiskey, pair it with elegant samplings of delicious food, and serve it under the stars, people will want to be a part of it. Thus, the creation of "Whisky After Dark," the inauguration of which Gut Check was lucky enough to attend -- read our review and then go buy yourself a ticket for next week's event, Thursday, September 12.

       Tonight's whiskies, all in a row. | Pat Kohm
  •        Tonight's whiskies, all in a row. | Pat Kohm

After walking into Scottish Arms, you are immediately given a personalized, handwritten thank you card. Why? Because you bought a ticket and they appreciate it. We're off to a good start! Entering the back patio, you'll probably say to yourself: "Huh? I didn't even know this was back here." And while it's hidden behind fencing and tall brick buildings, the back patio at the Scottish Arms is, in fact, one of the best outdoor spaces in the Central West End. Alit with candles and blazing torches, not to mention one badass pergola, the atmosphere rides the line between sophistication and laid-back easement.

       Snifters filled with promise. | Pat Kohm
  •        Snifters filled with promise. | Pat Kohm

Every attendee is given a small snifter with rolled up menu sitting inside. But before we looked over the chosen pairings, we were drawn to back table where Nate Kromat, boasting a full-on kilt, expertly served his take on the "Blood and Sand." Matching the whole rustic vibe, the music playlist kept a constant flow of Johnny Cash, Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers. We were very content, and the actual whiskey dinner had yet to even begin.

To kick things off, the first pour was a Glenkinchie 12 year paired with pork head terrine. If that sounds intimidating, fear not, Michael Cline (general manager) and Chris Lynch (bar manager) were doing the pouring and gave a quick tutorial for each new drink. They helpfully explained why each whiskey was chosen, what the primary flavors are and how it should compliment the food choice.

       Whiskey by candlelight. | Pat Kohm
  •        Whiskey by candlelight. | Pat Kohm

Each course was an experiment as you try to gauge your palate -- you know, can you actually pick up on the combination of smoked trout and the salty crispness of the Balvenie twelve-year? Or notice the uniqueness of the Ardbeg Uigeadail -- very much a step up on the ladder of whiskies and oh-so-very strong but somehow, the peaty sweetness shines through after you get past the initial burn and matched perfectly with the roasted lamb shoulder.

       Delectable duck drummies. | Pat Kohm
  •        Delectable duck drummies. | Pat Kohm

Our favorite food item of the night was the duck confit drummi with a cherry glaze -- pretty spectacular -- and our favorite whisky was the final pour, a Glenmorangie Ealanta aged in wooden barrels made from handpicked Ozark (Missouri!) oak trees, which happen to be extremely porous and perfect for aging.

Needless to say, the night was a success. The only exception being the balmy weather, but luckily with future dinners, the weather will turn and fall evenings wait, plus, local vendors like Kakao Chocolate, Pint Size Bakery and Salume Beddu are scheduled to make an appearance. The next whiskey dinner will also feature Peter Wilkins, Midwest director for International Beverage Co., who will bring along several of his choice whiskies. So, if you're looking for a great way to introduce yourself to Scotch whisky, or if you're just searching for an enjoyable evening, buy a ticket ($40.00) and reserve your spot.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email us!


Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.