Browsed by
Tag: scotch-cocktails

Friday Musings: Perfect Pitch

Friday Musings: Perfect Pitch

In music, there is a relatively rare ability that somewhere around 1 in 10,000 people possess called perfect pitch. If you are one of these people then you are able to identify or reproduce a musical note without any external reference tone. So if someone calls out a pitch to you then you can accurately sing it. Likewise, if you hear a pitch then you can correctly name it. I absolutely love music, but I am not musically inclined at all, so this ability sounds pretty amazing to me. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of it. A few months ago,

Read More Read More

Friday Musings: Alternative Medicine

Friday Musings: Alternative Medicine

Last November I wrote a post just after the election that was about the modern (now classic) cocktail called the Penicillin. It was created by Sam Ross, an early pioneer of the Cocktail Movement, who spent 7 years as head bartender at Milk & Honey in NYC, and currently is the co-owner of Attaboy, also in NYC and now Brooklyn. The Penicillin is one of my favorite cocktails. I know, I know. You’re all saying to yourselves right now that I have a lot of favorite cocktails, and that is quite true, but as a person who writes about them

Read More Read More

A Visit to the Banks of Islay

A Visit to the Banks of Islay

I’m sure it’s no surprise for me to admit that I spend a lot of time perusing the Death & Co. Modern Classic Cocktails book. I was looking at whiskey cocktails a while back when I came across a recipe for a drink called Banks of Islay made with an intriguing list of ingredients: Laphroaig 10-year Scotch, lime juice, cane sugar syrup, grenadine, and curry leaves. I thought the combination of the Laphroaig, which is very smoky, and lime juice was different and unexpected and I was eager to give this cocktail a try. I was good with having most of the ingredients on hand until I saw the 6 fresh curry leaves. Definitely not something I had waiting for me in the fridge! Since I couldn’t easily solve the mystery of where to actually find fresh curry leaves, I vowed to stay on the lookout for them and I put this cocktail in the file in my head labeled “Try this another day.” Last week I happened to be shopping a local organic market called Mom’s (located throughout the Mid-Atlantic states) and suddenly right before my eyes there was a bag of fresh curry leaves. I knew there was a Banks of Islay in my near future!

Recalling our discussion about Scotch whisky last fall, if the distiller allows peat smoke into the kiln or the malted barley grains are dried over a peat heated fire, the resulting product can have a very smoky aroma and taste. Laphroaig produces a heavily smoked Scotch from the Isle of Islay, and has been doing so since 1815. In terms of cocktail recipes, a smoky Scotch is often only floated on top of a drink (like in a Penicillin) rather than used as the main spirit as it is in this drink. This was one of the other factors that made the Banks of Islay so attractive to me. Fresh curry leaves have a kind of a citrusy anise flavor that pairs extremely well with lime. The sugar component in the drink comes from the simple syrup and the grenadine, both of which help to balance the acidity of the fresh lime juice. I’d been waiting so long to make this cocktail and I was not disappointed by it. In fact, as someone who loves smokiness in a cocktail, I thought it was absolutely amazing! If you want to give it a try and can’t find the fresh curry leaves, don’t be tempted to use curry powder instead. They are not the same thing. There are dried curry leaves on Amazon which would be closer, but not with quite the same punch as the fresh ones. If you’re near a Mom’s then you should be in luck; I’m also told that Whole Foods will occasionally carry them as well.

Banks of Islay Thomas Waugh from Death & Co., NYC

6 fresh curry leaves
1½ oz Laphroaig 10-year Scotch
¾ oz lime juice
½ oz cane sugar syrup*
1 tsp grenadine*

In a shaker, gently muddle the curry leaves. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice, then double strain into a coupe or a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a curry leaf.

*Death & Co. recipes available online. You can substitute regular simple syrup or a store bought grenadine as long as it’s one that is good quality from a small producer.

Friday Musings: A Tale of Two Whiskies

Friday Musings: A Tale of Two Whiskies

twowhiskies

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” This is the line that begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and, unfortunately, it perfectly describes the way many people are feeling as they consider their future after Tuesday’s election. While it remains true that we have very little choice here but to move on and unify as a country, I’m of the mindset that we will all need some time to personally grieve a considerable loss. We’ve spent the last 8 years under the leadership of a man who possessed great vision and who conducted himself with tremendous grace and integrity. Those of us who have been working all along to create homes that are full of tolerance and acceptance, so that our children would grow up without bigotry or prejudice, found an ally and an example in the highest office in the land. We saw the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage and watched the first woman become a presidential candidate, two events that not very long ago were considered highly unlikely, if not impossible. We believed that our hearts and minds were expanding, and we allowed ourselves to consider the idea that we were finally becoming incapable of feeling hatred for a fellow human being. We were moving towards equality, even if we still had a long way to go. We were living under an umbrella of hope. And now, especially in light of what has happened in just the past two days, we are fearful of the possibility that we may move backwards again, that we may lose ground, and that all of our hard work may come undone. We face what could be a considerable fight ahead to maintain the progress we’ve made, to keep ourselves open and accepting, and to never allow hatred to find it’s way back into our words, our actions, or our hearts. So take the time you need to grieve. And then get ready to fight to hold onto the world that you believe in right now, the world that you know we’re capable of creating. Hold it close and hold it tight. Refuse to let it be taken from you.

I’d really like to end this post here because a cocktail recipe seems incredibly trivial after all that, but this is a cocktail blog and that’s what I’m supposed to be writing about. For today’s drink I chose something from a bar/nightclub in New York called EVR that has since closed. The reason why I chose this particular recipe is because it brings in a number of rather different ingredients that work together, but still remain assertive in their own surprising way. Jameson’s Irish whiskey and Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch form the basis of the drink, with just a bit of Pimm’s No. 1 added in. Lime juice and agave nectar are combined together to make a sour mix and there’s a healthy amount of bitters thrown in as well. The recipe called for aromatic bitters, but I chose to go with DRAM black bitters because they have a darker, more complex flavor that I thought would work particularly well with the Scotch. The name was listed as EVR’s Whiskey Sour, but I thought we could do better than that. Let’s hope that we can all find a peaceful union again just like the different elements in this cocktail, without relinquishing the ideas of love, fairness, and equality we’ve come to embrace and expect over the last 8 years.twowhiskies2

A Tale of Two Whiskies (adapted from EVR’s Whiskey Sour)

For the Agave Sour Mix:
2 ounces fresh juice from about 2 limes
1 ounce agave nectar

For the cocktail:
1 1/2 ounces Jameson Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce Laphroaig single malt Scotch
1/4 ounce Pimm’s
1 ounce Agave Sour mix
3 dashes DRAM black bitters or any other aromatic bitters
Garnish: orange twist

Mix the lime juice and the agave nectar together to make the sour mix. Place all the other ingredients (including 1 oz of the sour mix ) in the bottom of a metal shaking tin. Add your 1 large cube and 2 small (or regular ice if you don’t have the larger format cubes) and shake for 15-20 seconds or until cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne strainer and a mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Camel-thumbnail