Having spent previous Burns Nights at home with haggis, neeps and tatties, followed by copious amounts of whisky and shortbread, it was a lovely change to be attending an event with a whole host of other Burns enthusiasts instead. All that was missing were bagpipes, kilts and the ode to a haggis!
Compass Box - specialist Scotch whiskymakers and craft blenders - supplied the drinks for the night. They're an innovative company, making whiskies that cover the spectrum of flavours Scotch whisky can offer; from light, delicate and elegant to big, smoky and peaty. With such a range of styles and flavour profiles, Compass Box can appeal to a variety of tastes, making whisky more approachable, even to those that don't normally drink it.
|Photo Credit: The Ox Cheltenham|
If we didn't think it could get much better, we were wrong. The dessert course came with Compass Box Orangerie, a truly unique whisky which has been infused with fresh orange zest and aromatic spices. Although it's made from a soft, sweet blend of Highland single malt and single grain whisky from Fife, it can't actually be called Scotch whisky because it has taken on other flavours from the infusion.
Orangerie is an interesting one, it's probably not something I'd choose to drink - I prefer peaty/salty whiskies - but with the Rhubarb Cranachan that we were served, it really came into its own. Orange and rhubarb are a match made in heaven anyway, but the layers of sharp stewed fruit (I know it's technically a veg), overwhipped cream and crumbled shortbread really brought out the sweet orange-spiced nature of the whisky.
Although we won our places at the event, tickets were only £40 per person, and that included everything - both food and drink. You could easily spend that amount of money on a four course dinner without drinks somewhere - it was such good value. And in the majority of restaurants, having a main course of venison usually means a price tag of up to £20 alone. So, £40 for the whole shebang seemed almost penny saving!
I'll certainly be looking out for future events at The Ox; we had a great night!