Thursday, October 8, 2009

penicillin cocktail

2 oz Chivas Regal 18 Year Blended Scotch
1/4 - 1/2 oz Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Ginger Honey Syrup (see text)
1 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Assemble in a rocks glass. Add ice and stir. Twist orange peel over the top and discard. Although not prepared here this way, some recipes float the single malt Scotch on top of the drink after stirring. And some recipes include candied ginger as a garnish.

Last night, Andrea and I went to dinner at Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge. After taking a seat at the bar, I asked Scott Holliday what drinks he has been tinkering with lately and the first drink he mentioned, the Penicillin Cocktail, was one that I had never had but meant to. The Penicillin Cocktail was created by Sam Ross at New York City's Milk & Honey bar, and I could not make it at home (until recently) for I lacked a single malt Scotch. The drink has a combination of a lighter and less smokey blended Scotch with a more intense and smokey single malt floated or mixed in (I have seen recipes that use each technique). To this, Scott added lemon juice, bitters, and a honey ginger syrup. Scott's recipe for the syrup is one volume of coarsely chopped ginger, one volume of honey, and one volume of water brought to a boil, simmered, cooled, and strained. Difford's Guide provides a quick alternative to this effort by using 2 parts honey syrup to 1 part Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur which might be more convenient if you are making these sporadically (remember that ginger syrups do not keep their flavor for more than a week or two). Scott mentioned that lately he prepares the syrup rather frequently since he has been making many of these despite it not being on the menu; moreover, he added that he makes one each night for a kitchen worker's shift drink who deemed it his current favorite cocktail! The drink itself had a very sweet note on the beginning of the sip from the honey and a smokiness at the end with the citrus flavors in the middle. In addition, the ginger and bitters added some nice spice-like accents to the drink.

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