Monday Classics: The Penicillin

Monday Classics: The Penicillin

I first talked about the modern classic cocktail called The Penicillin in a blog post back in November. Created in 2005 by Sam Ross, one the major early influencers of the cocktail renaissance movement and bartender at Milk & Honey on Manhatten’s Lower East Side, this cocktail is a smooth and smoky blend of two different Scotch whiskies, ginger, lemon, and honey syrup. There’s something about The Penicillin that I find to be incredibly soothing. Whether it’s the medicinal notes of the Scotch or the traditional healing qualities of the ginger, honey, and lemon, I never drink this cocktail without feeling comforted in some way. At this very moment, I can use that.

I’m returning after a week long hiatus from making cocktails and writing about them because of a kitchen fire we had in our house. Things are almost completely back to normal now, minus the fact that we do not have a working stove, but the experience was truly terrifying. I could blame it on a million things, but the fact of the matter is that it was my fault. I put a cookie sheet of coconut and pecans into the oven to be lightly toasted and became distracted by a conversation. 20 seconds turned into 2 minutes and suddenly I was looking at flames that were 6 inches high. Everything went downhill after that, and had we filmed the entire thing, we’d have been able to supply the local fire department with a video of all the things you shouldn’t do when your oven is on fire. It can be such a metaphor for life though, right? It’s easy to become distracted and miss what’s about to happen right in front of us. Life can turn on a dime, and suddenly we’re reminded of how we need to be constantly vigilant and careful with our emotions, words, and actions. They can get away from us at times and cause a shocking amount of damage.

For the original recipe for The Penicillin you can follow the click-through link above back to my earlier blog post. I’m giving you my own personal riff today in which I’ve added in Giffard’s new Caribbean Pineapple liqueur, swapped out the lemon juice for lime, and substituted a lapsang souchong syrup for the honey syrup. Lime juice and Scotch whisky are always a bit edgy together, but I’ve come to love the combination. Pineapple and lime are natural dance partners, and the tea syrup brings some extra smoke to the party. I garnished it with a pineapple slice that I grilled very carefully. Sooner or later I’m going to have to learn to be extra cautious around fire, since I seem to have no idea how to put one out.

Kitchen on Fire

2 oz Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky
¼ oz Giffard Caribbean pineapple liqueur
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz ginger lapsang souchong tea syrup*
¼ oz Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch

Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, except for the Laphroaig. Shake 20-30 seconds or until very cold. Pour into an old-fashioned glass over one large cube. Carefully float the Laphroaig on the top and garnish with a grilled pineapple slice. Enjoy!

*Combine 4 ounces of lapsang souchong tea with ¼ to ½ cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your simple syrups to be. Heat gently until the liquid appears clear. Add in 3 pieces of ginger and steep until cool. Store in the fridge for 2 weeks or so.

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