How you doin’? Guess what day it is!... It’s Happy Hour Friday! When I was over in Scotland, I found this little inn in Inverness where it was okay to stay long and sip a few drams of Scotch whisky every night.
Sometimes it’s just “neat” to have Scotch NEAT! There are few drinking experiences as pure and joyful as two fingers of Chivas in a darkened pub at the end of a busy and bustling day. But that doesn’t mean the spirit should be relegated to a life of just neat pours or over-the-rocks drinks. Bartenders around the world are celebrating with Scotch’s many personalities, creating some of the most exciting cocktails. While not all are new—some may be new to you—give them a try.
The Penicillin Cocktail
Quick, think of a Scotch cocktail! It’s hard, isn’t it? Scotch, although a formidable spirit in its own right, doesn’t often appear in cocktails, because its smokiness presents a challenge. Gentler whiskeys, like rye and bourbon, pair better with other ingredients. But if there’s one Scotch cocktail worth knowing, it’s the Penicillin. This Scotch-based whiskey sour—made with both blended and peaty Scotch—is a true modern classic. This version has ginger, spice and everything nice. It won’t cure all that ails you, but it will come close
2 oz blended Scotch
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz honey-ginger syrup*
1/4 oz Islay single-malt Scotch (or your favorite single-malt)
Garnish: 1-piece candied ginger
ChefSecret: Here’s how to make honey-ginger syrup—combine 1 cup honey, 1 6” piece of peeled and thinly sliced ginger and 1 cup water in a saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to steep overnight. Strain with a cheesecloth.
The Presbyterian Cocktail
If you treat your scotch like a religion, try this simple and classic cocktail. Be sure to use a spicy ginger ale so you get the most out of the three-part combo. Not a fan of Scotch? The Presbyterian is also delicious with a measure of American bourbon.
2 oz Scotch
Spicy ginger ale
The Godfather Cocktail
I’ll make you a drink you can’t refuse. This cocktail was named after the popular 1970s-era film "The Godfather." It is often made with equal parts of Scotch and Amaretto, but this version, I find a tad too sweet so I dialed back the Amaretto.
2 oz blended Scotch or Bourbon
1/4 oz Amaretto
The Rusty Nail Cocktail
Bold and brown, the Rusty Nail is the kind of cocktail your grandfather might’ve sipped before dinner. It was invented in 1937 for a British trade show. The two-ingredient classic highlights Drambuie, a Scotch-based liqueur flavored with honey, herbs and spices; the precise formulation still remains a closely guarded secret. It was sometimes aged by wealthy ship-owners in the holds of sailing ships. What we do know is that the word Drambuie is derived from Gaelic, meaning "the drink that satisfies." The same thing could be said about the Rusty Nail Cocktail itself.
1-1/2 oz Scotch
3/4 oz Drambuie
The Rob Roy Cocktail
Rob Roy, (Robert MacGregor) was an infamous Highland outlaw in the 1600’s whose reputation as a Scottish Robin Hood was exaggerated in Sir Walter Scott ’s novel Rob Roy (1818). You can celebrate the Scottish folk hero tonight with the classic Scotch-based Rob Roy cocktail. This recipe is like a Manhattan, but uses Scotch instead of Rye and Angostura bitters instead of aromatic bitters. The difference is delicious—try it for yourself.
2 oz Scotch
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: 2 brandied cherries
ChefSecret: Here is a list of the best cocktail-making Scotch liquors under $50:
Aberfeldy 12-Year ($43)
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