In the past few years new-make spirit has taken steps out of the shady scene of pilfered and illicitly distilled hooch, and into the realm of world-famous cocktail bars. Sure, there's not a great deal of Scotch whisky new-make (or 'clearac', as it is traditionally known) on the market, but across the pond in the USA the category has asserted itself in the wake of the craft distillery boom - often packaged as 'white dog' or 'moonshine'. While new-make spirit certainly can't be described as a subtle ingredient, the team at Bramble have managed to showcase how it can be substituted for other white spirits or used as a 'fortifier', while still delivering a balanced drink in these variations on classic cocktails.
The 20th Century cocktail was created in 1937 in homage to the 20th Century Limited express passenger train that travelled between New York City and Chicago between 1902 and 1967. Classically made with a floral gin, the use of Buffalo Trace White Dog adds a sweet biscuit note, which works well with chocolate flavours of the drink. This variation has been named for Buffalo Trace's roots in 19th-century distilling by the Kentucky River.
Cobblers were one of the earliest cocktails to gain mass popularity and rose to fame in the 1830s. The use of ice in drinks was still relatively novel at the time and it's thought that the name 'Cobbler' may refer to 'cobbles' of ice used. The Kingsbarns new-make spirit's fruity and malty notes gel particularly well with the nutty and stone-fruit flavours of the sherry, while its high ABV helps bring depth to what can sometimes be quite a watery drink. Although the famous Tommy's Margarita traditionally uses tequila, it also works brilliantly with the rich smoky flavours of mezcal. In turn, jumping from mezcal to peated new-make spirit makes for a delicious fusion of citrus and smoke that's given depth (and a nod to the missing triple sec) by virtue of the orange bitters. The Bobby's Margarita has been named in honour of Annandale Distillery's affiliation with Robert Burns.
- 25ml Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1
- 20ml Cocchi Americano
- 20ml Crème de Cacao Blanc
- 20ml lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice. Fine strain and serve in a chilled coup.GARNISH
A twist of lemon zest.
- 25ml Kingsbarns New-Make Spirit
- 50ml Oloroso sherry
- 10ml honey water
- 2 lemon wedges
- 1 pink grapefruit wedge
- 1 orange wedge
Shake all ingredients (yes, the wedges too!) vigorously with ice. Strain into a highball glass over crushed ice.GARNISH
A mint sprig, a pink grapefruit wedge, and a dusting of icing sugar.
- 50ml Rascally Liquor Peated
- 12.5ml agave syrup
- 25ml lime juice
- 2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass over a large block of ice.GARNISH
Express and garnish with a twist of orange zest.
Cocchi Americano 16.5% ABV
Similar to its sweeter French cousin Lillet Blanc, Cocchi is an Italian aperitivo made by infusing white wine with sugar, herbs and spices - in particular gentian, bitter orange peel and cinchona bark. It is a key ingredient in James Bond's Vesper Martini.
Crème de Cacao Blanc c.20% ABV
A sweet chocolate liqueur made by macerating cacao beans in alcohol. The 'Crème' in the name refers to the creamy texture rather than the presence of any dairy in the drink, while 'blanc' refers to the absence of any colouring.
The base wine of this type of sherry is fortified to around 17% ABV, which prevents the survival of yeasts and thus the growth of flor. As a result, Oloroso undergoes oxidative ageing that produces a distinct profile with nutty and dried fruit notes.
Putting honey directly into a cocktail generally doesn't work well - honey water is the solution! Produced in the same way as simple syrup (but by using honey instead of sugar) a ratio of two parts honey to one part water is ideal but can be tweaked to taste.
Typically less viscous than honey, agave syrup (also called agave nectar) is made by concentrating and heating the juice extracted from the piña (core) of agave plants. Different grades are available, which vary from light (neutral) to dark (stronger flavour).
Regan's Orange Bitters
The result of collaboration between Sazerac Company (owner of Buffalo Trace) and esteemed cocktail expert Gary Regan. These orange bitters are based on a recipe found by Regan in The Gentleman's Companion: Being An Exotic Drinking Book (1939). Bramble Bar
16A Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JEwww.bramblebar.co.uk @BrambleBar