Monday, April 5, 2021

Pete's Word


A simple and amazing twist on a the classic Last Word with scotch and Dolin Genepy in place of gin and Luxardo maraschino liqueur. Definitely try this with Laphroaig for the smokey peat of the Islay scotch. This flavor is similar to the smoke from mezcal that goes so well with lime juice. It's a great combination, and Luxardo just makes the whole thing work, tying together peat, alpine spice and a highly acidic fruit juice into one harmonious cocktail. You'd think Pete's Word is one of the cannon originals of the classic cocktails.

  • 3/4 oz Laphroaig single malt
  • 3/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Genepy
  • 3/4 ozlime juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Faithful Scotsman (Death & Co Recipe)


A stirred drink with pineapple and lemon juice? Even weirder is the toasted whole cumin syrup. But how does it taste? Amazing. And yes, it all works.

Death & Co. has taught me that a rich syrup cocktail with juice can be stirred and swerved on the rocks like an Old Fashioned or, in this case, something very similar to the Harlem Cocktail. 

Again the tropical Island cocktail works well with scotch. Roasted barley whiskies like scotch also go well with savory notes as well. I'm talking about the cumin syrup. To make this golden syrup, toast 1 tbsp. of whole cumin seeds in a saucepan for about three minutes before adding 1/2 cup of water and sugar. Cook until it reduces and the sugar is dessolved. Then strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Compass Box Asyla Scotch (Speyburn 10 used)
  • 1/4 oz. Massenez creme de peche (1/4 oz. Evan William's peach bourbon used)
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. cumin syrup 
  • 1 pineapple leaf garnsih

Stir all ingredients, then strain into a double rocks glass over 1 large ice cube. Garnish with the pineapple leaf. 

Grouse Rampant (Death & Co. Recipe)


"X" Marks the spot with the Grouse Rampant. This a spicy take on the classic egg white foamed Sours served in a coupe glass. There are some very specialized ingredients at work here: fuji apple infused Famous Grouse scotch is the main one, requiring a few days panning in advance. Then there's honey and cinnamon syrup (or cinnamon whiskey flavored honey syrup in my case.) Finally the Peychaud's bitters "X" makes this drink as fun to look at--almost, anyway--as drinking.

To make the infusion of fuji apples, I used one large fuji apple diced and a half bottle of Famous Grouse. Apples infuse quickly, so 24 hours is all that is really needed to get rich apple flavors from the fruit. But after a few days the scotch loses a lot of its smoke and pepper and you are left with something like a sweet apple whiskey.

I make my cinnamon syrups with MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey. A few drops per cocktail (added right to the jigger) is all I need to transform honey or ordinary simple into something similar to cooking cinnamon sticks into the syrup. So as long as I have this shortcut available, I'm taking it. 

  • 2 oz. fuji apple-infused Famous Grouse Scotch
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. acacia honey syrup
  • 1/4 oz. cinnamon bark syrup (1/2 oz. honey syrup and 1/4 oz. MurLarkey cinnamon whiskey used)
  • 1 egg white
  • Peychaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients except bitters in a shaker and dry shake to create foam. Add ice and shake again to chill and strain into a chilled coupe. Use Peychaud's bitters to form an "X" on the foam in two swipes.

Vejk Sling (Death & Co. Recipe)

Slings are popular, tasty and easy to make. They are some of the oldest cocktails in history, and yet they are not going away anytime soon. Basically, you need only a base spirit, some juice and soda, and a dash of a flavorful liqueur or a garnish usually helps distinguish one sling from another.

This Sling is mostly distinguished by scotch. It needs little else to make it interesting, however Dolin blanc and orange bitters send it in an appropriately fruity direction. Furthermore, a chamomile infusion in the Dolin blanc adds earthiness and apple-like notes

  • 2 oz. Compass Box Asyla scotch (Spyburn 10-year-old used)
  • 1 oz. chamomile-infused Dolin blanc vermouth
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 dash Bittermen's orange bitters (Hella used)
  • club soda
  • lemon twist

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Collins glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda and twist the lemon zest over the drink and drop it in. 


Scottish Dram


Pretty much any cocktail you make with Drambuie will be good--and it will taste Scottish. That is because Drambuie is a liqueur with teroir. It is made from aged scotch, heather honey and Scottish botanicals. It's pretty amazing stuff. From putting it in your coffee to a few drops in your cocktail, it has the potential to change your whole experience.

This cocktail is a take on the Rusty Nail, a common drink for scotch enthusiasts from way back before the single malt craze. Usually an inexpensive scotch is used to spread the Drambuie flavor around in a rocks glass full of ice. This time it is up, neat and dry, in a recipe almost as simple as the Rusty Nail.

  • 2 oz. scotch (Speyburn 10-year-old used)
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino used)
  • 1/4 oz. Drambuie
  • 1 dash Pechaud's bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe glass. 

Straw Dog (Death & Co. Recipe)


The Straw Dog is Death & Co.'s update on the Bloodhound, a blended gin Strawberry Daiquiri with vermouth. Granted, the Bloodhound is kind of an anomaly of the Disco Era of cocktails where fresh fruit was used, but other ingredients were strange and often poorly matched with them. The Straw Dog un-does a lot of the harms of its predecessor.

Death & Co. used Compass Box Asyla Scotch as their base for its round scotchyness. I'd do the same, except I found a nice single malt from Speyburn--10 years old, even! And this was a good move because Speyburn's softness translates like mild whiskey. You really notice the Dolin Blanc more than the scotch.

The other change I made was out of necessity. I don't have, nor can I make, hopped grapefruit bitters. My substitute was two dashes rhubarb-lemon bitters (because these will do the lifting job of the grapefruit), and one of celery bitters (because of their binding earthiness). 

  • 1 strawberry
  • 1 1/2 oz. Compass Box Asyla Scotch (Speyburn 10-year old used)
  • 1 oz. Dolin blanc
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 dash Bittermans hopped grapefruit bitters. (2 dashes rhubarb-lemon and 1 dash celery bitters used)
  • 1/2 strawberry garnish

Gently muddle 1 strawberry in a shaker tin. Then add ice and the remaining ingredients except the half strawberry and shake. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the strawberry half.

Tea in the Sahara (Death & Co. recipe)

Of all the infusions that I've made, I've never considered green tea and coconut infused scotch. But that is what is required for Tea in the Sahara. You need a dry, almost peppery infusion of Famous Grouse to pull this off. So I recommend getting dried coconut, not confectioner's coconut with all the sugar. It will really unbalance a cocktail like this that has no citrus except for the garnish. 

Besides the infusion, Strega is the only other spirit ingredient and honey syrup is the main sweetener. This drink is light but has body from Strega and honey. The scotch burns, but it has picked up earthy nuttiness from the green tea and coconut. (For my tea, I used sensha for its grassy notes.) The lemon coin (a thin slice of pith from the narrowest end of the fruit) hints at teatime with a cocktail that has a lot of exotic pastiche for a scotch drink.

  • 1 lemon coin with a bit of pith
  • 2 oz. coconut green tea-infused Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1 tsp. Strega
  • 1 tsp. acacia honey syrup
Squeeze lemon over a mixing glass and drop it in. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into a double rocks glass with no ice. 


Eye of the Torino (Death & Co. recipe)


Scotch from Islay is still an island spirit. That's the thinking behind Eye of the Torino. Death & Co. is at it again, changing people's expectations of spirits like Scotch. No, even a single malt scotch like Bowmore 12 doesn't have to be trapped in a Glencairn glass or on the rocks. You can make an excellent Tiki cocktial with single malt from Islay because it has a rich profile similar to rum. 

Yes. Bowmore 12 (or in this case McClelland's Islay, which is my less expensive way to get Bowmore in a different label) is the main ingredient in this tropical drink that features huge coconut flavors. The title of the drink suggests the need to hide Cocchi di Torino in a fruity drink that resembles a Bahama Momma. With all the coconut, pineapple, cream and orgeat, it's hard to taste that sweet vermouth, but spicy scotch still stands out with peat notes and a bit of smoke. But don't tell your Tiki drinking friends it's in there, just pretend it is smoke from the Tiki torches. 

This drink is intended to be served in a coconut shell, which is a lot of trouble to get and cut. I figured a large Tiki mug would be fitting. 

  • 2 oz. Bowmore 12-year scotch
  • 1/2 oz. cocchi vermouth di Torino
  • 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. coconut cream
  • 1/4 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash chocolate mole bitters
  • 1 pineapple wedge and cherry flag for garnish

Combine all ingredients is a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coconut mug (or Tiki mug, as pictured) full of crushed ice. Use a pick to pin the stem cherry to the pineapple wedge and stick it on the rim.

Scotch Lady


The Pink Lady is a great gin cocktail that is at once classic and up-and-coming in the bar scenes. It's a descendant of the Fizz without soda. Now that gin is coming back, The Pink Lady is popular again. I think it is because it is so light and refreshing, and that means a change in the base spirit changes the drink. Any restaurant can swap out a unique gin, something like Old Tom or infused gins, and you have a drink that many will enjoy as if for the first time. 

This rendition, the Scotch Lady, is a simple swap out of ingredients that goes slightly richer with apple brandy and scotch as the main ingredients. When you first try it, you get mostly apple and lemon notes. A lot of the freshness of the Pink Lady. In the aftertaste, there is a throaty hum of peat and malt from scotch. Famous Grouse is a nice blend for this drink because it isn't shy. A rustic blend, the Grouse has character by itself but is tame with company like egg white and lemon juice. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. Famous Grouse scotch
  • 1/2 oz. Laird's Applejack 86 
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. grenadine
  • 1 egg white
  • brandied cherry garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker and shake without ice. Then add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled coup and garnish with a cherry. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Green Hills Sling (Original Recipe)


This is a light and spritzy cocktail for spring. Asparagus and gin is the perfect flavor combination to captures the newly growing flowers and vegetables of the season, but asparagus is seldom used in cocktails and I've often wondered why. In a world where artichoke and elderflower liqueurs are not only acceptable, but found in nearly every bar, why not asparagus gin?

I made this asparagus gin by infusing vodka with gin botanicals and three asparagus stems (my old bathtub gin recipe modified slightly to make room for asparagus flavors. The botanical mix includes 1 tbsp. juniper berries and a half teaspoon of anise seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds with one long lemon zest. Then I added the asparagus stems and a bottle of 100-proof vodka and let it infuse for three days. (It is easy to over-steep bathtub gin and that makes the juniper more bitter, covering the other botanicals.)

Alternatively, you can take your favorite gin and infuse it with asparagus. I recommend doing it in a large jar rather than dropping the asparagus into your bottle. If you can't get the asparagus out of the bottle after three days, it will start tasting like bitter overcooked asparagus.

The rest of the cocktail is pretty straightforward. Asparagus gin, akvavit, and Dolin blanc for the herbal spirits, lemon juice and St-Germain to balance the acidity and add sweetness and a floral nose. 

  • 1 1'/2 oz. asparagus gin (homemade infusion used)
  • 1 oz. Dolin blanc 
  • 3/4 oz. St-Germain
  • 1/2 oz. akvavit (homemade used)
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • sparkling water
  • 3 fresh asparagus stems for garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients except sparkling water in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with asparagus. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Jesper Lind (Death & Co. Recipe)

Vesper Lind is James Bond's beau. This is the woman for whom he never married. And we all have had a Vesper or a 007 Martinii. This is different. In fact if I was to suggest a  Bond Enemy drink, this might be it. 

There is a lot of richness in the nose: vanilla and orange. When you sip it is full of raisin from the sherry and herbal notes from the gin and aquavit. And that last bit is where the name comes from: a common masculine name in Norway, Jesper. All of which hints at the addition of aquavit as a botanical ingredient. This is the dude drink to match Bond's woman. And I'm down with that. It's richer and more herbaceous. There's no vodka to tame it down. The flavor is full and ready. 

What it lacks is garnish, if that is even necessary. At a cool bar like Death & Co., I'd be surprised if that was even necessary. And truthfully, you don't need lemon oil from the twist or a cherry to throw off the perfection of the individual ingredients. 

  • 1 1/2oz. dry gin (homemade bathtub used)
  • 3/4 oz. Lustau East India Solera Sherry
  • 1/2 oz. Linie aquavit (homemade used)
  • 1 tsp vanilla syrup 
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.