Whiskey is one of my favorite things. I’ll go to lengths to describe the way it makes me feel and especially the way it performs in craft cocktails. What? Whiskey cocktails? Don’t look away; it’s perfectly acceptable to mix cocktails with whiskey. By the way, if you’ve enjoyed a whiskey smash or a mint julep, you’ve had a whiskey cocktail. And if you’ve treated your glass of whiskey to a splash of soda or a muddle of fruit, that is a cocktail too.
Yup, your world just got a bit bigger and you haven’t event gotten to the Manhattan’s or the Rob Roy Cocktails yet!
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One such creative cocktail from my recently published book, The Craft Cocktail Compendium is named “A Pleasant Little Gentleman.” It takes a bit of rye whiskey, raw honey simple syrup and whiskey barrel aged bitters and twists them up a bit.
A Pleasant Little Gentleman
- 2 oz. Fernet Branca
- 1 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. raw honey simple syrup (1 cup raw honey to 1 cup hot, but not boiling, water)
- 2-4 shakes Barrel Aged Bitters
- Boiling water for hot tea (Lapsang Souchong)
Boil tea. Add the liquors. Sweeten with raw honey to taste. Add the bitters. Serve
Another little taste of deliciousness is the “Late Summer Fizz.” It includes Pimm’s Cup. Now you know what to do with this cucumber-scented slice of heaven.
Late Summer Fizz
(Pg. 110 of The Craft Cocktail Compendium)
- 2 oz. rye
- ½ oz. Pimm’s No.1. Cup
- ½ oz. apple cider
- ½ oz. sweet white vermouth (I used Carpano Antica Formula)
- ¼ oz. allspice dram
- Sprinkle of sea salt
- Lemon bitters
- Splash of club soda
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice: Add the liquors and the apple cider. Add the dram. Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Splash club soda. Dot with lemon bitters. Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Serve.
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The next one is my take on the classic Old Fashioned. It involves roasted fruit that you split, add light balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar and Demerara sugar, roasted, cooled and muddled. Pretty spectacular.
Grilled Peach and Thai Basil Roast
- 1 oz. roasted peaches (split, sprinkled with sugar and 1 tsp balsamic and roasted for 1 hour at 350 degrees until soft and charred)
- 1 oz. roasted oranges (split, sprinkled with sugar and 1 tsp balsamic and roasted for 1 hour at 350 degrees until soft and charred
- 4 oz. bourbon whiskey
- 1-2 sprigs Thai basil
Muddle the roasted peaches and oranges with Thai basil very lightly, just to release the aromatics adding a bit of bourbon along the way, muddle some more and add more bourbon (I used Barrell Bourbon Batch 11). Strain the mixture into a rocks glass without ice or if you want, with one large cube of ice and a bit of the muddling mixture. Garnish with a sprig of Thai basil.
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How can you go through summer without a take on the Moscow Mule, but with whiskey instead of vodka? This one takes a bit of a different tack. It involves making a very quick Shrub — no, not a shrubbery, but a little concoction that adds a bit of apple cider vinegar to the usual ginger beer. Kind of a ginger snap in your mouth!
Son In The Foreign Legion
- ¼ oz. apple cider vinegar
- 3 oz. ginger beer (cane sugar-based)
- 2 oz. blended Scotch whiskey (Like Johnny Walker Red)
- 4-6 drops Angostura bitters (or like)
To a cocktail mixing glass: Fill ¾ with ice. Add the whiskey. Add the ginger beer. Add the apple cider vinegar. Stir well to chill but not dilute. Pour into 2 coupe glasses. Dot with bitters and serve.
The last cocktail is also from my book The Craft Cocktail Compendium. It is simply named “Bill Monroe’s Country Cooler,” paying homage to the master mandolin player himself.
Bill Monroe’s Country Cooler
- 1 oz. peach nectar
- 1 oz. apricot nectar
- ½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 oz. sweet iced tea (sugar to your own taste of course!)
- 2-4 oz. white (un-aged) whiskey
- 2-5 dashes Angostura bitters
- Fresh mint (picked in the shadow of the roots of an ancient oak tree, where sweet branch water bubbles forth in a belly laugh)
Add all the liquid ingredients to a cocktail mixing vessel filled ¾ with ice. Stir well to chill. Strain into ball jars. Dot with bitters. Slap the mint against your palm and garnish. Serve and quickly prepare more! They go down quick!