I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. And while I love scotch, I sometimes prefer a cocktail made with scotch instead. Ron Burgundy might not prefer a scotch cocktail to scotch, but I am sure he would say it is a better choice than milk. And a great place to begin when discussing scotch cocktails is the Scotch Cocktail (not a particularly clever name, but it’ll do the trick).
2 ounces scotch (preferably something slightly smoky)
1 teaspoon honey (or 1/4 ounce of honey syrup)
Dash of bitters (I used one dash each of Angostura and orange bitters)
Add the honey to a shaker (I used a mixing glass here, but it is not necessary). Add 1 teaspoon hot water. Stir until the honey dissolves in the water (this forms honey syrup — see below for more details). Add the one dash of bitters and the scotch. Stir well and strain into a lowball or a coupe.
You may have noticed that this cocktail is not dissimilar from an Old Fashioned. They both have whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water. So why opt for a scotch cocktail as opposed to an Old Fashioned? I like an Old Fashioned with bourbon and bourbons are made with at least 50% corn, which leads to a slightly sweeter profile. Using scotch as the base spirit makes the drink very different because of the smoky characteristics of the scotch. Essentially, just as you would sometimes choose to sip on a single malt, while other times you would choose to have straight bourbon, you would sometimes choose a Scotch Cocktail over an Old Fashioned, or vice versa.
I also like to use honey as the sweetener in the Scotch Cocktail, while I use demerara simple syrup for an Old Fashioned. The honey just works well with the scotch. You end up getting a hit of smoke as well as complex sweetness from the honey. I would recommend choosing a wildflower honey or a lavender honey to add even more depth to the cocktail. Honey can be tricky to use in cocktails. As you know, honey is extremely viscous. Adding it directly to the shaker and shaking (or, in this case, stirring) as usual might mean that the honey is not mixed well into the drink. The heat from hot drinks, like hot toddies, will melt the honey so it mixes in well. But for cold drinks, like the Scotch Cocktail, the honey will not mix well. So we fix this by making honey syrup, which is a fancy term for honey and water mixed 1:1. Use warm or hot water and mix with equal volume of honey. The result will be a thinner liquid which will mix well. If you do not feel like making a larger amount of honey syrup, then you can make it directly in the shaker for each drink.
Okay so lastly, we need to discuss the lack of posts lately. Some of you may know I moved to Washington, D.C. and work (and life) has been busy of the past 6 months. But I am now settled in and am beginning to drink again! So keep an eye out for new posts and reviews. Stay classy!