Speakeasy does it: classic whisky cocktails with Mortlach

Whisky brand Mortlach teamed up with Wallpaper* for a 1930s-inspired New York dinner, pairing classic whisky cocktails with modern Indian cuisine

Left, Mortlach whisky bottle and whisky cocktail with food on serving trolley. Right, chocolate dessert on plate, against decorative background
Left, ‘Fluted’ coupe, $155, by Richard Brendon; ‘Art Deco’ plate, $160, by Marie Daâge, both from Jung Lee NY. Crab puri and Kaluga Amber caviar served with a Scotch Manhattan whisky cocktail. Right, napkin, $112 for four, by Kim Seybert, from Jung Lee NY. ‘Snake’ napkin jewel, $215 for four, by L’Objet. ‘Rafia’ dinner set, $149, by Marie Daâge, from Jung Lee NY. Mother-of-pearl spoon, $75 for five-piece place setting, by Jung Lee NY. Goan chocolate layer cake with filter coffee ice cream. Entertaining director: Melina Keays. US director: Michael Reynolds. Prop stylist: Rebecca Bartoshesky
(Image credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis)

In partnership with Mortlach

Mortlach By Design is a programme that sees the nearly 200-year-old whisky brand invite six designers to take inspiration from its unique characteristics, and the sculptural forms of the six stills behind its signature 2.81 distillation process, to create diverse projects. 

As part of Wallpaper’s contribution, US director Michael Reynolds and entertaining director Melina Keays hosted a 1930s-inspired, speakeasy-style dinner at interior designer Ken Fulk’s Tribeca loft, working with chef Hari Nayak, from Priyanka Chopra’s much-talked-about Indian restaurant Sona, to create the perfect dishes to pair with the unique and robust flavour profiles of Mortlach’s 12-, 16- and 20-year-old whiskies. (The dishes are shown here, recreated in Sona’s Flatiron restaurant.)

Mortlach whisky and a speakeasy-inspired soirée

Serpentine sculpture, old fashioned tumbler

Serpentine light sculpture, $1,800, by Jeff Zimmerman, for R & Company. ‘Fluted’ double old fashioned tumbler, $120, by Richard Brendon, from Jung Lee NY

(Image credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis)

Guests were offered a choice of whisky cocktails on arrival, specially crafted to celebrate the spirit’s complex and robust flavour. There was a Scotch Manhattan, New York’s rich and smoky take on the classic Rob Roy, made with 12-year-old Mortlach, sweet vermouth and dashes of bitters; and a Boulevardier, aka the Whisky Negroni, composed of 12-year-old Mortlach, sweet vermouth, and Campari. 

The latter’s creation is accredited to Erskine Gwynne, the American-born writer who founded Boulevardier magazine in Paris during the 1920s. Both cocktails were the perfect complement to the crab puri and caviar appetizers passing through the room. 

Table set with dinner as part of Mortlach whisky cocktails evening

Sculptural vessel, $12,000, by Jeff Zimmerman, for R & Company. ‘Tresor’ plates, from $185, by Raynaud, from Jung Lee NY. ‘Aegean’ dinner plate, $280; ‘Perlée’ soup plate, $260; ‘Snake’ napkin jewel, $215 for four, all by L’Objet. ‘Cornice’ napkin, $90 for four, by Bodrum, from Jung Lee NY. Buckwheat bhel with sprouting fenugreek, raw mango, and chilli and honey dressing (bottom left), chilli chicken tikka with roasted tomato and garlic marinade and cauliflower mash (top), Kerala sea bass curry with green mango and cassava dumplings (middle), and chilli cheese naan bread (right) 

(Image credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis)

Mortlach 16 – with ice and soda – was served with dinner, chef Nayak pairing the complex expressions and unique flavour profiles of the whisky with beet galouti, buckwheat bhel and tamarind lamb chops. 

Alongside the darkly glamorous chocolate bebinca dessert, a dram of Mortlach 20-year-old provided a bold and magnetic finale.

Tamarind lamb chops and red wine in glass on table laid for Mortlach whisky cocktails dinner

 ‘Stars Spice Jewels’ salt shaker, $195 for set; ‘Terra’ plate, $40, both by L’Objet. Mother-of-pearl knife and fork, $75 for five-piece place setting, by Jung Lee NY. ‘Massena’ water glass, $190, by Baccarat, from Jung Lee NY. ‘Concorde’ napkin, $140 for four, by L’Objet. Tamarind lamb chops served with pickled fennel and turmeric

(Image credit: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis)



All interior items not credited are from Sona. With thanks to Sona, 36 East 20th Street, New York, sona-nyc.com, and Mortlach