20 years in Dubai and I truly consider myself a “Dubai insider.” When you’ve spent your childhood, adolescence and adulthood in one city, you really become familiar with that place. I often (annoyingly) start statements with “Back in the day…” and tend to be a know-it-all on all things Dubai. That being said, it’s really refreshing when I discover something “new” that I can share with you.
But what happens when you discover something so amazing, you don’t want to share for the fear of it suddenly becoming too popular for you to partake. One of these discoveries I’ve been “hiding” for sometime but am finally ready to reveal is the MMI Single Malt Society – or what I deem the official gathering of #TeamWhiskey.
Disclaimer: This article discusses alcohol so if you’re Muslim or under the age of 21, head on back and find another article to read 🙂
The history of me joining #TeamWhiskey deserves its own post. But as a summary, I’ve been a whiskey aficionado since the summer of 2012. The problem with whiskey is it’s such a “man’s drink” so unless you have someone patient enough to teach you, it’s easier, especially as a woman, to stick to a Cosmo or Vodka-Tonic. And that’s where the MMI Single Malt Society is perfect for my fellow #TeamWhiskey females.
Every few weeks, the folks at MMI – namely the category managers for whiskey, Craig Johnstone (follow him @WhiskyCraig) & Chris Riley – put up a themed night at a Dubai restaurant of whiskey and food. So far I’ve been to three MMI Single Malt nights (with my 4th one at El Sur tonight) and they all have been individually amazing. Craig is a gifted storyteller and it wouldn’t be wrong to call him a walking-talking whiskey encyclopedia – though we differ on the spelling of whiskey 🙂
My first night was at Gaucho which was an exclusive Glenmorangie night paired with chocolate. We sampled 5 different types of Glenmorangie whiskeys with the highlight being the Signet for me. My second event was at Prime restaurant at Meydan hotel, which consisted of a 3-course surf-and-turf meal paired with 7 (!) festive whiskeys in the run up to Christmas. This featured one of my favorites so far, the Drambuie 15. My last experience was with the Lost Distilleries “synthetic” whiskeys at Qbara, Wafi with a lovely find called Stratheden. However I have to admit the highlight of this night was the wonderful (and perhaps excessive) tasting menu.
Each night is filled with lovely whiskey trivia (i.e. what’s the 5th taste after sweet, sour, salty, bitter?); sampling something that isn’t available to the market yet (Drambuie 15, Lost Distilleries); or even just finding out where the most unusual whiskeys are available to sample or buy in Dubai. No matter what your interest is, I think if you enjoy whiskey, you’ll love these evenings. They are also a great way to catch-up with a friend while enjoying a hobby – and yes I consider tasting whiskey a hobby!
However, in order to manage your expectations, here is what to expect:
- The events can get quite popular so try to book as soon as the event is announced or be disappointed in missing out
- Not all the evenings are full meals so have a look at the menu and decide if you want to line your stomach
- The whiskey servings are adequate (you definitely shouldn’t drive home) but you won’t be getting sloshed
- The price might seem steep but considering the food and drinks provided, the events are usually a great deal
- Expect to gain a lot of nerdy whiskey knowledge!
At this point I have to mention that the evening is organized by MMI, a local beverage retailer. But the team are relaxed and there is limited discussion about applying for a liquor license or shopping from MMI but instead it is a night dedicated to love of whiskey. Though the side effect of wanting to go shopping at MMI is very likely!
If you’ve managed to read through this rambling, you’re probably #TeamWhiskey and clamouring to find out how to attend one of the next MMI Single Malt events. Here are the ways:
- Join the MMI Malt Society on Facebook
- Sign up to the MMI Single Malt Society on their website
- Drop an email to singlemalt[at]mmi[dot]ae and ask to be put on their mailing list
So my secret is out! I might regret this when the next MMI Single Malt event I want to head to gets sold out by popular demand! Happy drinking!