I love Scotch whisky. It's a world unto itself in its variety and complexity, and the things to know about it are endless. And it's a great cocktail ingredient, though an underrated one—probably because of its smokiness. But it's less challenging than it might seem, and pairs well with citrus zest and spices.
When I learned that Gary Regan likes the Rob Roy with Peychaud's bitters, I was inspired to do an anise-scented Scotch cocktail of my own. I first made this with Ledaig, a very smoky, seaweed-y Isle of Mull single malt which is great with the rich orange note of the Cointreau, but something milder, like Johnnie Walker Red Label, would be just fine.
2 oz Scotch 1/2 oz Cointreau 2 dashes Fee Bros Aromatic bitters 3 star anise pods
Reserve one star anise pod for garnish. In a shaker, crush the remaining 2 star anise pods lightly in the Scotch with a muddler. Let them steep for a few minutes. Then add ice, Cointreau and bitters. Stir until well chilled. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the whole star anise pod.
Today's cocktail is the Aviation. It's a good thing I'm not trying to fly a plane tonight.
There are two basic versions of this old favorite: one with creme de violette, one without. I like both. The plainer one is like moonlight caught in a glass, and has a Saint-Exupéry-like delicacy that works especially well with Bombay gin. The creme de violette one is reported to resemble the blue sky, and it does, if your blue sky happens to be pale violet at that moment. I prefer to add only a little violette--enough to turn the drink silver, the color of Jazz Age flying machines and Art Deco technophilia. (I also like to run the lemon juice through a fine strainer for a more uniform effect.)
1 1/2 oz gin 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur 1/2 oz lemon juice Approx. 1 tsp creme de violette
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Getting through a Tuesday seems to take a lot out of me, so when evening comes, I want the familiar comforts—the illusion that the world is the place I know.
The Village is my own idea of the 19th-century cocktail. Both its versions, pineapple (elegant) and raspberry (flashy), are fairly traditional, which leads me to suspect that these combinations of ingredients were hit upon many times by others in the age that it’s meant to accord with.
For me, it conjures evenings in old New York: Washington Square, Bleecker, Waverly, Christopher, Hudson; steak dinners, oysters, late night tipsy walks to the river in the winter wind; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walt Whitman, and my Northeastern roots.
This Mixology Monday is hosted by Frederic of CocktailVirgin, and features a classic punch ingredient, tea, so I'm offering up a tiki-style punch. (Thanks, Frederic. I love punch. I'm a little punchy on a Monday anyway, and that dose of caffeine should make me even punchier.) Tea imparts roundness and structure to punches, and brings other flavors together. Here I've used Russian Caravan, a smoky blend of Chinese teas with wood notes to balance and compliment the richness of mango and the bright acidity of citrus.
1 1/2 oz amber Martinique rum 1 oz dark Jamaica rum 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton 3 oz mango nectar (Looza) 1 oz orange juice 3/4 oz lime juice 1 1/2 oz Russian Caravan tea 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir with small ice cubes or cracked ice, and pour into a tiki mug or double old-fashioned and decorate with fruit to punch it up.
Some notes on my cocktail life in San Francisco—mostly thoughts about classics or an idea I’m working on. Once in a while, I even go out and drink someone else’s liquor. (I try to take pictures to prove it.)