Life Cafe Blog

Posts Tagged ‘whiskey’

Balvenie 15 Year Single Barrel-Life Cafe 983

By Andy “McMills” (until November 11th, after which time it’s Mills to you)

Balvenie Scotch Tasting Event isThursday, November 10, 2011, from 8-10pm at Life Cafe 983.

Balvenie 15yr Single Barrel

Single barrel, what a fine term. There is much confusion about the difference between the term single malt and single barrel. To be classified as a single malt whiskey, it must be whiskey made at the same time and aged for the same time, with the same year’s malt. This can then be blended together to create a consistent product over the years. For single barrel whiskies, however, it’s the same criteria as above, but without the privilege to mix barrels. This is done only by the malt master who chooses casks worthy of the year’s Single Barrel’s end product. Balvenie makes only 350 of these bottles per year. It’s very, very good to get your hands on one of these. As far as the taste, my opinion is this version is more robust and complex than its younger predecessors, despite the fact that the only barrels used were oak. The more time in the barrel, the more characteristics the whiskey picks up from the barrel. I should know; I’ve been in the barrel for years!

Looking forward to seeing you on November 10th for a free taste of these fine Scotches.

Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask-Life Cafe 983

By Andy “McMills”, the Whiskey Dude

Attention: The Balvenie Tasting Event has been pushed back to Thursday, November 10th, from 8 to 10 pm at Life Cafe 983.

Balvenie 14yr Caribbean Cask Scotch

Okay, I was almost as confused as you. I’m now not only the Beer Dude but also the Whiskey Dude. I accept that gracious title for our upcoming Balvenie Scotch Tasting event. Just don’t expect me in a kilt.

I’m not entirely sure why they beat around the bush with the categorization of this one, but substitute “Caribbean” for “Rum Barrel.” A few years ago, Balvenie released a 17-year-old version of this product with amazing success, to which the word “rum” was attached. They started the process by aging the whisky for a full 14 years in oak whisky casks, and finished it in used rum barrels, The end product is rich, rounded and malty.

Re-mark your calendar for November 10th at 8 to 10 pm. Sorry, sorry, we expected it to be on November 5th, but the New York supervisor for Balvanie got called away for something urgent so we’re doing it a week later. No bother, it gives us more time to increase your knowledge about these fine Scotches. And it doesn’t prevent you from coming in beforehand to get yourself a taste either.

Anyway, what the hell!! If they don’t turn up we’ll just drink their scotch. So, get yourself in here now!

Balvenie 12yr Doublewood-Life Cafe 983

Hi, it’s the Beer Dude, Andy, bringing you tidings from the bar at Life Cafe 983 in scenic Bushwick, Brooklyn. If you haven’t heard, our Balvenie Scotch Tasting event has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 10th, from 8-10pm  at the Life Cafe 983 location.  Mark your calendar and get your taste butts over here. It’s gonna be a real treat.

Balvenie 12yr Doublewood

I promised you a bit of background on each of the scotches we’re tasting so here we go. The first is the 12 year Doublewood. Doublewood does not mean twice as much wood, or anything else inappropriate that some of you may be thinking.  It means that the whisky, while still maturing, was transferred from one kind of wooden barrel to another.  In this example, it starts off in traditional oak barrels that add smoothness to the whisky, and cherry casks that add some additional complexity.  Very smooth with a spicy kind of sweetness.  A very nice 12 year single malt. This means you’ll be doubly happy!

If you can’t wait for Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm to get a taste, stop on by and see me, Thursday through Sunday nights. We’ve got a full line up of unique Scotches for you to choose from. All “scotch” is not the same. Scotch whiskeys are as varied as the places from which they originate. I’d love to met you so we can talk more Scotch. It’s what I love to do.

Loaner kilts available. Forget Halloween scary ghosts and ghouls; there is absolutely nothing scarier than looking up a Scotsman’s kilt.

Andy McMills

Thursday, November 10 @ Life Cafe 983 Balvenie Tasting Event

By Andy Mills, The Beer Dude.

Balvenie Scotch Tasting, Thursday, November 10th, 2011 from 8-10 pm.

Brooklyn has never been on the forefront of any movement at all that I’m aware of concerning the distillation of whiskey.  Fortunately, however, we Brooklynites don’t feel the same way about drinking it.  I’ve seen cocktail lists as well as ordered wholesale alcohol for establishments on both sides of the East River, and the most obvious thing that hit me was the fact that Brooklyn drinks whiskey.  I love Brooklyn.

Here at Life Café 983, we embrace this.  I called the Balvenie Distillery in Speyside, Scotland and they’ve agreed to jump onboard.  We’ve invited members of the distillery to the restaurant on Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm to help us throw a party to celebrate Brooklyn’s love of whiskey.  Swing through at 8 pm to catch the start.  It shouldn’t last much longer than 9 pm, so come early.  We’ll be featuring free tastes from various whiskies ranging from their 12-year single malt the whole way up to the 21-year.  It’s important not to miss this if you love whiskey.

Talking about whiskey, let’s consider longevity and the oldest lady on the street.  Life Café 983 has been around since 2002 making us one of the more mature restaurant/bars in the Bushwick/East Williamsburg area (if not the oldest).  However, imagine being in business since 1893.  That’s the year Balvenie bottled their first whisky. (Makes me feel really damn young.)  Like most Speyside whiskies, Balvenie can be described as being on the sweet and subtle side for a scotch, lacking the peaty characteristics of Highland and Islay whiskies.  Having said that, the surprising thing about drinking Balvenie whiskeys is the relation between the drinker and the scotch. It all comes down to personal taste and things can go in all kinds of directions from there.

Watch this glass! In the next day or two I’ll write more on the specific whiskies we’ll be pouring at the event. So study up. Knowledge enhances appreciation and enjoyment. Get ready for this Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm.

The Beer Dude is Back Behind the Bar

Hi, this is Andy. You remember, The Beer Dude of Life Cafe 983. For years, I’ve been researching, choosing, ordering, serving, drinking, writing about and, last but not least, talking about the beers I love to serve here. I talked so much about beer that John Sunderland (our artist-in-residence and infamous creator of our Menu Picture Riddles) sketched me as I really am – a pint of beer with a nice frothy head. From that moment on, I became The Beer Dude.

Just over a year ago, Mark, my co-manager and “partner in crime” at Life 983, went over to the East Village Life Cafe to help out. My hands became full of managing other things far away from the bar. Well, Mark is happily back and I’m back where, I have to admit, I am most happy to be – running your ears off with ramblings about different varieties of hops, which kinds of yeasts leave the most desirable residual sugars, the way adding rye to an IPA recipe can … yeah, well, I can go on running. I’ll get into more of that in the next postings. I can’t help it – it’s the stuff I love.

I look forward to telling you about the exciting developments with the beer line-up we’re looking to introduce as well as some fun enhancements we’re planning with the rest of the boozies. Like, we’ve got a Scotch event coming up Saturday night, October 22nd. Before then, I’ll be writing about the character of each of the four new Scotches we’ll have in house so you’ll be better prepared to savor their differences.

Come on by to meet me and try the samples. I look forward to seeing you here on October 22nd. And before you get here, tune in to my blog for talk about Scotch.

Dinner Specials @ Life Cafe 983



served with chipotle mayo


in a red wine, mushroom and cream sauce
with mashed potatoes and broccoli

with a teriyaki glaze, mixed veggies and white rice
(may contain bones)

in a red wine sauce
with mashed potatoes and French beans


NEW – Whisk(e)y Flights

Try 3 whisk(e)ys from your favorite
whisk(e)y making region


From Scotland – $18
Caol Ila 12yr – Laphroaig 10yr – Macallen 12yr

From Kentucky – $14
Basil Hayden’s – Woodford Reserve – Knob Creek

Dinner Specials @ Life Cafe 983



served over a mesclun salad


with a pineapple chutney, mashed potatoes
and green beans

in a miso glaze with julienned veggies and brown rice

with tomato, mushrooms, fresh basil,
all topped with goat cheese

seitan, red peppers, spinach, and edamame
served in a sweet soy ginger sauce.

NEW – Whisk(e)y Flights
From Scotland
Caol Ila 12yr – Laphroaig 10yr – Macallen 12yr
From Kentucky

Basil Hayden’s – Woodford Reserve – Knob Creek


Booze Speak @ Life Cafe 983

Whiskey, Whisky, Uisce Beatha?
by Andy Mills, Bar Manager Life Cafe 983
Once upon a time, there was a powerful magician. This magician focused all the power he could muster into one magical act; the creation of usquebaugh (the water of life), today known as whiskey to some and whisky to others. The spelling of the word is a perfect demonstration of how different this stuff can be. “What’s it made from?” you ask. Anything from malted barley, wheat, rye, corn and more. This fact is only the beginning of the versatility of whiskeys or whiskies. Distilleries age whiskey for different time periods, in different sized barrels made from different types of wood. They even dry the malted grains differently. Some traditional Scottish distilleries use peat moss fires to dry the stuff. Believe me, this makes a world of difference. Then, hell, they may even blend many different barrels from many different distilleries to get a particular whisky the way that it was intended to be. Johnnie Walker is a perfect example of this. The big boys, however, tend to not play these games. They give you the real deal. The single malt whisky, always expensive, usually worth the price, is a more complex, intense and usually awe inspiring drinking experience.
I took on the effort of trying to offer examples of the different flavours and textures of these amazing spirits at the cafe. I am now offering whisk(e)y flights. I have one from Scotland, and one from Kentucky, each includes three different pours of 3 of my favorite examples from the particular regions.