The extensive, alluring worlds of whiskey, Scotch and bourbon can feel daunting to novice drinkers—especially when there’s an expectation to drink it neat or with a bit of water. For an easier entry point into one of the most nuanced areas of the spirits market, there really are great cocktails for superior whiskey. A lot of interesting options have crossed our path of late, and unless the liquid was designed not to be mixed (for example, Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2015-1, their brand new and remarkably impressive 128.7 proof, seven years-aged limited release) or is finished in a way that delights the palate in an altogether unique way (like Pike Creek Vintage—a ruby red Canadian whisky aged in port barrels), any cocktail will do. However, the following six were each designed with a particular spirit in mind. And the brown liquor is just as good as the cocktail were recommend trying it with.
For the first time ever, Ireland’s 12-year-old Single Pot Still Yellow Spot has made its way to the US. For its stateside debut, the bartenders at NYC’s Dead Rabbit crafted the Tiny Riot to accent both its honey sweetness and supple spiciness.
1.5 oz Yellow Spot
2 dashes Regan’s 6 orange bitters
0.25 oz Earl Grey tea syrup (2:1 cane sugar)
0.25 oz Byrrh
0.5 oz Cardamaro
Shake all ingredients together and serve in a champagne flute.
Created by Ms. Franky Marshall, the Wake-Up Call employs the brand new Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon. This limited bottling clocks in at 113.2 proof, but carries all the flavors we’ve come to love from Maker’s.
2 oz Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon
.75 oz coffee liqueur
1 barspoon of vanilla syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes orange Bitters
Add all ingredients to mixing glass, add ice and stir well. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Containing one of the most comprehensive whiskey collections in NYC, American Whiskey is always up to the task of making craft cocktails from unique options. With the Secret Weapon, they take Heaven Hill’s Mellow Corn—a potent straight corn whiskey from Kentucky—and deliver a full, refreshing and magnetic mix.
2 oz Mellow Corn
1.5 oz peach tea
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz ruby port
.5 oz Appleton Estate Reserve
Combine all and serve over ice.
W.L. Weller Pear Collins
Through a combination of luck and awareness, we were able to get our hands on the exceptionally rare and highly acclaimed W.L. Weller 12 Year bourbon. This exemplary tipple, produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery, requires a cocktail of equal caliber and we found that a Pear Collins offered exactly what we were looking for.
2 oz W.L. Weller 12 Year bourbon
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
.75 oz pear juice
2 dashed of Amargos Chunchos bitters
.25 oz Velvet Falernum
.25 oz CioCiaro (float)
Combine all ingredients and serve.
The French Manhattan
While at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival we had the opportunity to try The French Manhattan. Aside from the addition of Bauchant Orange Liqueur, the primary difference from a traditional Manhattan is the use of Bastille Whiskey. This exceptionally smooth handmade whiskey is produced in the Cognac region of France. All of their malted barley and wheat hails from the north of France, as well.
3 oz of Bastille Whiskey
1.5 oz extra dry vermouth
1 dash of Bauchant Orange Liqueur
Stir, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with an orange
Extra Sweet and Sour
Their first new expression in the US in eight years, Chivas Regal’s Extra is a blend of many rare whiskies, matured only in Oloroso sherry casks. There’s a nice nutty sweetness, a wonderful spice—all of which goes hand-in-hand with their Extra Sweet and Sour cocktail.
1.5 oz Chivas Regal Extra
1.5 oz organic apple juice
.25 oz lemon juice
.25 oz St. Germain
2 dashes Angustura bitters
Sparkling water (top off)
Garnish with an apple slice.
Third, fourth and fifth images courtesy of American Whiskey, all other images courtesy of respective brands