Whisky cocktails have been doing the rounds before the term ‘cocktail’ even meant something, long before the very concept of bartending was ever dreamed up. This list, compiled by Stuart Hudson and Dean Callan from Monkey Shoulder, was presented during London Cocktail Week as a brief catalogue of the rise and rise of the water of life.
Technically predating the term ‘cocktail’, this drink is a mixture of oatmeal water, honey, whisky and cream. It first crops up in 1475 in a legend involving the Earl of Atholl who was trying to capture Iain MacDonald, Lord of the Isles and leader of a rebellion against the king. The story goes that the earl heard rumours that MacDonald and his army where camped near a well, which they were using for drinking water. He ordered it to be filled with oatmeal, whisky and honey in order to trap the men whilst they enjoyed the intoxicating concoction. Atholl’s plan went without a hitch as MacDonald lingered by the well relishing in the drink, and was captured.
Garnish: Dust with grated nutmeg
Method: Prepare oatmeal water by soaking three heaped tablespoons of oatmeal in half a mug of warm water. Stir and leave to stand for fifteen minutes, then strain to extract the creamy liquid and discard what’s left of the oatmeal. To make the drink, STIR honey with Scotch until honey dissolves. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. 2 shots Scotch whisky 2 spoon Runny honey (heather)
1½ shot Oatmeal water ¼ shot Drambuie ¼ shot Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira ½ shot Double (heavy) cream.
Cold Whisky Punch
The Hindi word for ‘five’, punch has been part of western drinking culture since the 1600s. Traditionally it was made with, yes, five main ingredients, although this number has since been cut down to four or three. From the 1750s whisky punch was the national drink in Ireland, predating the rush for Guinness, and was consumed as much as three times a day. In 1821, King George IV decided to display his affection for his Irish subjects by “drinking [their] health in a bumper of whisky-punch.”
The godfather of bartending, Jerry Thomas, offered both a hot and cold version of his Scotch Whisky Punch in his 1862 Bartender’s Guide and it is in this form that the drink has traditionally remained.
Garnish: Thin slices of lemon and seasonal berries
Method: Add sugar to mixing glass, add half the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add the whisky and other half of boiling water along with the lemon juice. Stir and allow to cool. 1/3 Whisky 2/3 Boiling water Lemon juice to taste Sugar to tast.
An absolutely iconic cocktail, from the aforementioned and equally iconic Jerry Thomas, the Blazer was invented when he was working in El Dorado, San Francisco, during the gold rush. The legend of its creation says that a huge gruff man stormed into the bar Thomas was working in and (quoting from an account by Herber Asbury in 1928) said: “Bar-keep! Fix me up some hellfire that’ll shake me right down to my gizzard!” Thomas then proceeded to pour ignited whisky and boiling water between two cups. In Asbury’s story the man drank the cocktail and says “He done it. Right down to my gizzard.”
President Ulysses Grant apparently witnessed Thomas perform this spectacle and presented him with a cigar. In his 1862 Bartender’s Guide Thomas wrote: “A beholder gazing for the first time upon an experienced artist, compounding this beverage, would naturally come to the conclusion that it was a nectar for Pluto rather than Bacchus.”
Garnish: Lemon zest twist
Method: The drink involves setting whisky alight and pouring it between to silver tankards, creating an arc of flame. WARNING – please practice with water first to perfect your method. Stand on a non-flammable floor and have suitable fire-fighting equipment nearby. The following recipe makes two drinks. You will need two large silver-plated tankards with handles. Preheat these with boiling water and warm the whisky. POUR the whisky into one tankard and fresh boiling water into the other. Ignite the whiskey using a long match and while still blazing pour the whisky into the other tankard. Then mix ingredients by pouring them from one tankard to the other. The foolhardy increase the distance between the tankards as they pour, thus creating a spectacular long blue flame between the two. Jerry Thomas is said to have held the tankards at a meter’s distance from each other. Extinguish flame by covering flaming tankard with base of the other tankard, pour into glass and sweeten to taste by stirring in powdered sugar. 4 shots Whisky
4 shots Boiling water 1 spoon Powdered sugar.
Sharing its name from the legendary Robert Roy MacGregor, a famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw, the cocktail, invented at the Waldorf Hotel, was actually named after the opera that opened in New York in 1894.
Incredibly similar to the Manhattan, Rob Roy’s are made with Scotch whisky not rye or bourbon.
Garnish: Lemon zest twist (discarded) & maraschino cherry
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass. 2 shots Whisky 1 shot Martini Rosso sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters ⅛ shot Maraschino syrup (from cherry jar – optional)
Sounding more like a concoction to be served in a dirty backwater bar, a Rusty Nail is actually quite a sweet drink made with blended Scotch and Drambuie. It was Bonnie Prince Charlie who, as legend hs it, passed on the Drambuie recipe to Captain John MacKinnon as a reward but, despite these Scottish ties, the drink is 100 per cent American. It’s said to have been created in 1942 at a Hawaiian bar for the artist Theodore Anderson. As for the name, the original recipe has been given quite a few, including Knucklehead and B.I.F. Rusty Nail, however, seems to come about in the 1950’s at Club 21 in New York.
Garnish: Lemon zest twist Method: Stir ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass. 2 shots Whisky ¾ Drambuie
The Bartending News Flash Team
source: diffordsguide CLASS Magazine