Scotch is seen as the most sacred of the whisky family, and people can get pretty protective over what you do with it.
Contrary to popular belief, Scotch cocktails are not a waste a of good whisky, but an opportunity to explore each whisky’s distinct characteristics. They can convert even the most reluctant of drinkers. From classic cocktails to experimental concoctions, we asked four cocktail experts to each pick a Scotch cocktail for you to wet your beak with.
1. Seven Grand Chancellor
Jeramy Campbell of Seven Grand in Austin recommends a refresh on the classic Chancellor cocktail.
- 50 ml Glenfiddich 12 yr
- 21 ml tawny port
- 14 ml Dolin Blanc
- 1 Dash Reagans’ Orange Bitters
- Fill a mixing glass half way with ice
- Add the Glenfiddich, Tawny Port, Dolin Blanc and the Bitters
- Stir well
- Strain the contents into a rocks glass with no ice
- Add the zest of a lemon
“This is a refined/sophisticated cocktail with a great mouthfeel, depth and flavor,” says Jeramy. It makes me think of warm red fruit and satin. We have found that Glenfiddich 12yr works beautifully in this cocktail, adding notes of honey, green apple, spice, and well rounded viscosity.”
2. Black and Yellow
Created by Michael Lynch, bar manager at Bramble in Edinburgh, the Black and Yellow is based on classic whisky sour with a twist.
- 25 ml Monkey Shoulder
- 15 ml Kilchoman
- 15 ml Rinquinquin
- 20 ml honey & bee pollen syrup
- 25 ml lemon juice
- Add all ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice
- Double strain into a chilled coupe glass
Note: The drink is then garnished with an edible black ash to provide a contrast to the deep yellow colour.
“It’s based on a classic whisky sour, using honey and bee pollen as the sweeteners,” says Michael. “There’s no egg white but the bee pollen adds a richer texture to the drink. Monkey Shoulder pairs well with honey and the Kilchoman adds more depth and a touch of peat to the finish.”
3. The King Louis
Alex King from Callooh Callay bar in London recommends their original scotch cocktail, The King Louis.
- 40 ml Cacao Nib infused Monkey Shoulder
- 20 ml Punt e Mes
- 10 ml Banane du Bresil
- 10 ml Amontillado Sherry
- 2 Dashes Bittermans Molé Bitters
- 2 Dashes Salt solution
- Stir all ingredients with ice
- Serve in a Nick & Nora cocktail glass
- Garnish with a frozen skewered banana
“Monkey Shoulder for me has a strong nose of cocoa and vanilla,” says Alex. “A blended whisky, it’s great for mixing as it’s light and has undertones of stone fruit as well as tropical fruit. I originally wanted to use bananas as the main flavouring note but the cacao nibs worked perfectly when infusing the whisky and then it was just a case of playing off the chocolate. Punt e Mes lends a bold red fruit backbone, then amontillado sherry gives a subtle nuttiness. Finally, Banane Du Bresil gives a lasting banana finish. Salt solution and molé bitters act as the seasoning to what is a simple, yet smooth beverage.”
4. Broken Compass
Christopher Mosey of Keefer Bar in Vancouver recommends their Broken Compass cocktail.
Photograph by Talia Kleinplatz
- 30 ml Talisker Skye
- 15 ml pandan-infused Montenegro
- 30 ml fresh orange juice
- 15 ml coconut cream
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker
- Strain over crushed ice into a rocks glass
- Cap with more crushed ice
- Garnish with pandan leaf, orange wheel and toasted coconut flakes
“Using Scotch whisky in a cocktail not only brings a depth of flavour, it also provides elegance, richness and a surprising amount of versatility,” says Christopher. “Even the word Scotch is enough to peak the interest of many of our guests when listed as an ingredient in a cocktail without us even having to divulge into region, profile or character. It’s an incredible buzz word. People dig Scotch.”
A beginner’s guide to whisky cocktails – seven easy serves to start