Ask any cocktail nerd about what they love about mixed drinks and they'll likely give a pretty long answer. After all, it's a complex topic. But after really drilling down into it, you'll likely find a deep appreciation for how the smallest of tweaks can turn a drink on its head. Whether that change is altering the ingredient proportions, ice type, or dilution; switching out the bitters or using an inventive garnish, even classic serves made with the same base spirit can vary wildly from bar to bar, bartender to bartender. Once you start being more adventurous with the core components, things get even more interesting. The increased proliferation of whiskies from across the globe - whether from established producing nations like Ireland or more recent entrants to the category like India or Taiwan - has certainly made this experimentation easier and opened up the opportunity to refresh old favourites. So the next time you fancy a whisky sour, why not eschew the Bourbon and try a Campbeltown single malt? How about a Tiki-style drink with Irish whiskey instead of rum, or an aperitivo with peated Indian single malt? Give it a go and share your results with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @Whisky_Magazine.
The Cobbled PunchBy Jonny ArthurINGREDIENTS
- 50ml The Dublin Liberties Oak Devil
- 10ml Yellow Chartreuse
- 5ml Pimento Dram
- 10ml gomme syrup
- 20ml pinepple juice
- 20ml lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice. Fine strain and serve in stemless wine glass over block ice.GARNISH
A mint sprig.
JP SourBy Mike LynchINGREDIENTS
- 40ml Glen Scotia Double Cask
- 15ml Amaro Nonino
- 15ml orgeat
- 20ml lemon juice
- 20ml egg white
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Dry shake (without ice) all ingredients to emulsify the egg white. Shake again with ice and fine-strain into a coupette glass.GARNISH
Express a twist of orange zest and discard.
The HeritageBy Mike LynchINGREDIENTS
- 40ml Paul John Bold, Peated
- 15ml Peychaud's Aperitivo
- 20ml Byrrh Grand Quinquina
- 1 bar spoon of Fernet-Branca
- 1 dash Spanish bitters
Stir all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass.GARNISH
Express and garnish with a twist of lemon zest.
The Dublin LibertiesOak Devil 46% ABV
A light and sweet blended Irish whiskey from The Dublin Liberties range, which is inspired by the namesake (and infamous) area of the city. Sister brand to The Dubliner, both are currently sourced from third parties - however a €15 million distillery is being built and set to open in Spring 2018.Price:
Paul JohnBold, Peated Single Malt 46% ABV
Paul John's whiskies are distilled in copper pot stills at their single malt distillery in Goa. Added to the brand's core range in 2015, this expression is crafted using 100 per cent Indian barley that has been smoked using Islay peat.Price:
Glen ScotiaDouble Cask 46% ABV
This expression was added to the distillery's range following a change in ownership of parent company Loch Lomond Group. This Campbeltown single malt is finished in a combination of first-fill Bourbon barrels and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.Price:
Peychaud's Aperitivo 11% ABV
This aperitif was launched in 2016 as an extension of the famous Peychaud's bitters brand. It sits in the same category as Aperol or Campari, but it's sweeter.
Byrrh Grand Quinquina 18% ABV
A venerable old aperitif made by infusing a Muscat wine base with bitter orange, cocoa, and cinchona (quinine) barks.
Spanish Bitters 38% ABV
Dr Elmegirab is famous for resurrecting lost styles of bitters. These are bright and citrus led with chamomile top notes.
Fernet-Branca 39% ABV
This amaro has less sugar and a higher ABV than many comparable drinks in its category. Boasting an intensely bitter profile, it includes a wide variety of different herbs and spices including aloe, gentian, rhubarb, cinchona bark and zedoary.
Amaro Nonino 35% ABV
Produced by grappa house Nonino, this rich amaro is created by infusing grape distillate (which has been aged in Nevers, Limousin and ex-sherry casks) with herbs. Aromas include bitter marmalade, thyme, menthol, and mango.
Pimento Dram 22% ABV
A brain child of the well-known Bitter Truth brand, this Jamaican-made liqueur has a rum base, is flavoured with pimento (all-spice), and has primary notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, maple, and pepper.
Yellow Chartreuse 40% ABV
Milder and sweeter than its green sister, this yellow herbal liqueur has a venerable pedigree and long-standing place on the back bar - in fact it was launched in 1838! Created using a secret recipe, you may be surprised to discover that the colour is entirely natural.
Before taking up the role as Bramble's bar manager, Mike worked on the opening of various new bars and restaurants for independent owners in Edinburgh. This included the creation of cocktail menus and wine lists for the capital's prestigious Devil's Advocate bar and both Chop House venues. He is a long-time whisky enthusiast with a particular interest in sherry-cask and Campbeltown drams.
After working in Aberdeen, Jonny moved to Scotland's capital to work in Bramble's sister bar The Last Word Saloon in Stockbridge. Moving to Bramble at the start of 2017, he has subsequently excelled in numerous industry tournaments and, most recently, won the UK final of the Courvoisier cocktail championships. As a result, he has the right to represent the UK at the Toast of Paris international cocktail competition, the results of which are now online.Bramble Bar
16A Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JEwww.bramblebar.co.uk @BrambleBar