Bushmills and nel. celebrate a perfect partnership

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Let’s be honest: there are a lot of forgettable drinks out there. The house spirits you drink at the local pub when you can’t face downing another sour red wine, the mysterious-looking amber liquid you’re passed at a house party that might be whiskey but also might be rum…we’ve all had our fair share of dodgy tipples.

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Bushmills Irish Whiskey, thankfully, is not one of those drinks. It’s not even in the same neighbourhood. Over a six-course dinner at nel. in Surry Hills, we were invited to try four expressions of the Bushmills range: The Bushmills Black Bush, and the 10-, 16-, and 21-year old single malts. While we can’t say that these are the kind of dishes you’re likely to recreate on a cruisey night at home – beetroot crème brulee with vinegar popcorn was a standout, as was the banoffee pie with banana-flavoured sand – the flavours are going to stick with you long after the experience of eating a savoury crème brulee out of a petrie dish will disappear.

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The Black Bush blend contains malt whiskey blended with batch-distilled grain whiskey, creating a fruity and intense character with plenty of smoothness. It’s easily drinkable but still feels special enough to be served up on an occasion, which is exactly what you want out of a good whiskey, if you ask us. The Single Malt expressions are just as more-ish, with flavours progressing from chocolate to dried fruit depending on the age of the bottle (the ten-year is apparently delicious when served frozen!). Again, you may not wind up with every bottle in your home bar, but whichever you choose – the lighter Black Bush blend, the deep and malty 21-year single malt, or something in-between – you’ll feel like you’re opening a bottle you can really enjoy and appreciate every time.

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Chef Nelly Robinson is world-renowned for creating fresh and bold dishes that flip traditional expressions of flavour on their head; and in a way, so is Bushmills. The 400-year-old distillery has a lot in common with Surry Hills’ three-year-old nel.: both are innovative, both are really exciting, and both will make you feel that no matter what the occasion is, it’s a special one.

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