Four Glen Grant Scotch Cocktails For All Seasons

Using apricot, sherry, rosemary and more to complement two of Speyside single malt's expressions

Last year was a big one for Speyside single malt Scotch brand Glen Grant. They introduced 12 and 18 Year Old expressions—both of which went on to great acclaim (with the latter taking the Scotch Whisky of the Year award from revered critic Jim Murray). The 18 Year Old succeeds both as a Speyside (generally lighter and more vanilla-like than other Scotch regions) and as a single malt (with tremendous complexity giving way over the course of a sip). While we wouldn’t suggest mixing it into a cocktail, its younger sibling—the 12–plays quite well with others, delivering bright citrus notes, sherry spice and a lingering pear-like flavor.

The man behind both introductions, Glen Grant Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm, an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, explains to CH he “felt that we needed to fill and extend the range that we had.” With that, he began experimenting with casks. When comparing both new expressions, it’s quite fascinating to note that the 12 year is much darker than the 18 year. “There’s a fair percentage of sherry in there,” he says, which also yields a dry nuttiness to the nose. “The 18 Year Old is aged in remade hogsheads from American oak,” he adds, in turn lending the caramel notes and floral elements. Both are slightly higher in strength, at 43% ABV. The following four cocktails use the 12 Year Old to great effect and while they were born in the winter they’ll certainly refresh in the warmer months.

Slice of Speyside

Malcolm is a big believer in the idea that a bit of water opens up Glen Grant for some drinkers. With the Slice of Speyside, water is employed for exactly that reason while apricot and muddled mint lend their energy.

1.5 oz Glen Grant 12

.5 oz Giffard Apricot brandy

1 oz filtered water

2 lemon wedges

4-6 leaves fresh mint

Muddle lemons, mint and water, add spirits and ice, shake vigorously and double strain over fresh ice. Garnish with fresh mint and a dried apricot.

The Major

With plenty of spice and botanicals from the use of two types of sherries and two bitters, as well as the dynamic nature of the amaro Cynar, The Major is exactly that. The spice isn’t overwhelming here, but each sip stimulates the tongue from front to back.

1.5 oz Glen Grant 12

1.5 oz Cynar

.75 oz Fino Sherry

.75 oz Dry Amontillado Sherry

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

1 thick piece of lemon peel

Pour the Scotch into a coupe glass, gently turning it to coat the inside. Remove the Scotch and set the glass in the freezer to chill. Pour Scotch and remaining liquid ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir until the outside of the glass is cold. Strain into the prepared glass. Squeeze the oil from the lemon peel over the top of the glass and discard and serve.

The Sparkler

A bright and effervescent concoction, The Sparkler’s balanced sweetness makes it a true celebration drink.

1.5 oz Glen Grant 12

.5 oz fresh lemon juice

.75 oz rosemary syrup*

2 oz brut sparkling wine

Combine the whisky, lemon, rosemary syrup and ice in a shaker. Shake hard for 5 seconds. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Top up with sparkling wine.

*To make rosemary syrup, warm equal parts sugar (or honey) and water with a few rosemary sprigs over low heat until sugar (or honey) is dissolved. Gently muddle or press the rosemary to release the oils. Remover from heat and allow to cool completely before use.

Glen Grant Toddy

An ideal dessert drink, this variation on the traditional toddy can close out a meal or party. Warm drinks don’t need to be kept for winter.

2 oz Glen Grant 12

.75 oz cinnamon infused honey syrup (1:1)

Build in glass, and top with 4 oz boiling water. Garnish with grated cinnamon and nutmeg.

Images courtesy of Glen Grant