Cocktails

Shaking it up

There is a revolution happening and whisky is at the cutting edge. We find out more
By Rob Allanson
The revival of the cocktail scene has really taken hold in the trendy bars and clubs across the world, and whisky and bourbon have fast become the premier ingredient for many bartenders - or mixologists as they are known.

A cocktail is essentially a mix of two or more ingredients, one of which must be alcohol.

The list is endless as to what you can add, it all depends on what flavours you are trying to enhance and highlight. Other ingredients can include fruit juice or soda, other spirits, honey, milk, cream, herbs and spices.

Experimentation is the name of the game these days and if you can think of something to add to a drink, chances are someone has already tried it.

Whisky cocktails have a long history but perhaps more so with bourbon than Scotch whisky. It is well accepted that in the early days of whisky production other ingredients were used to mask the foul flavours of the spirit, and during the Prohibition era cocktails were popular as they eased the nasty flavours of bath tub gin and moonshine.

Bourbon better lends itself to mixing because of the sweeter notes whereas Scotch whisky, whether single malt or blended, is typically difficult to mix well.

Blends and bourbons generally marry well with orange zest, summer fruits and warming spices, bourbon can also be mixed with vanilla pods to bring out its vanilla character.

The single malt is a relative newcomer to the scene but is not being shied away from by bartenders in the know.

The flavours of the smoky and peaty varieties, while difficult to incorporate, have some mouthwatering results.

Whisky on the back bar is often dominated by the provenance and romance of the single malts, but now the blends are starting to be linked with lifestyle statement - for instance poker evenings evoking the decadent Bratpack era.

Most of the high profile blends, including Dewar's and Grant's have seen their liquids used in cocktails.

One of whiskies that has aligned itself with this resurgence is Monkey Shoulder.

Rob Curteis, innovation manager at William Grant & Sons which owns Monkey Shoulder, says the whisky itself has been blended specifically so that it is accessible and mixable.

He adds: "David Stewart, the Malt Master, has been with the company for more than 40 years and his experience has really paid off. He has created a genuine, premium Scotch whisky that stands up as a traditional Scotch, but that with its slight sweetness, vanilla flavours and smooth taste make it ideal for mixing also.

"The bartenders have really enjoyed making innovative cocktails with it, as well as the traditional whisky-based drinks."

Julien Gualdoni, at Mahiki in London, created a first in the drinks industry - a solid whisky cocktail. Called a Solid Manhattan, it's an 'amuse-bouche' served on a shell-shaped spoon.

Inspired by the classic Manhattan recipe, Julien first solidifies the Monkey Shoulder and bitters using gelatine and this is used as the base of the drink. Perched atop the Monkey base is a frothy foam of sweet and dry Vermouth, served at -7˚C. This is then garnished with a drop of concentrated cherry liqueur.

Chivas brand ambassador Max Warner says London has long been the centre of mixology and creativity.

He adds: "Bartenders have been pioneering, searching for the freshest and most premium ingredients. There is a renaissance happening in London. People are looking for the origins of their drinks, just as they are doing with food. The latest thing is to search for the lost cocktails, the ones that go back to the 1920s and 30s.

"We find Chivas works well in cocktails as it is a very smooth whisky. It takes a lot of flavour from the bourbon casks, so the notes you get are spicy, sweet, smooth and orchard fruits. I have found it works well with cocktails that normally use bourbon."

So if all this talk about cocktails has whetted your appetite to try something new, why not have a bash at some of these recipes.


The cocktails



Monkey Mojito


INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml Monkey Shoulder

  • 20ml limejuice

  • 15ml gomme syrup or 3 sugar cubes 12 mint leaves

  • Dash Angostura Bitters

  • Top ginger Ale



METHOD
In a highball glass muddle all ingredients but not the ginger ale.
Add some crushed ice stir and top up with ginger ale.

GLASS
High Ball.

GARNISH
3 mint leaves & lime wedge.


Monkey Mule


INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml Monkey Shoulder

  • 15ml lemon

  • 20ml honey syrup (solution of 50 per cent honey / 50 per cent hot water)

  • 4 red-hot chilli pepper seeds

  • Top ginger beer



METHOD
Stir the Monkey, lemon juice, and honey in a high ball (without ice).
Add ice to top of glass, add chilli pepper seeds and fill with ginger beer.
Stir some more.

GLASS
High Ball.

GARNISH
1/2 lemon wheel.


Monkey Fig Sour


INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml Monkey Shoulder

  • 25ml lemon juice

  • 20ml gomme syrup or 2 sugar cubes Dash egg white (optional)

  • 20ml Fig liqueur



METHOD
Shake all ingredients together & strain into a rocks glass.

GLASS
Rocks.

GARNISH
A slice of lemon & a fresh cherry (if available on season).


Chivas Highland Jewel

By Shaun Doylan, Blend Bar, London (2006 Drinks International Cocktail Challenge Gold Medal Winner)

INGREDIENTS

  • 50ml Chivas Regal 12 Year Old 10ml Chambord

  • 5ml Orange Curacao

  • Dash orange bitters



METHOD
Stir in a Boston glass with ice, strain into chilled martini glass.

GARNISH
Garnish with a blackberry.


Chivas Royale

By Andrew Maillard, Alphabet Bar, London

INGREDIENTS

  • A generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Apple schnapps

  • Ginger ale

  • Sliced green apple

  • Crushed ice



METHOD
Half fill Champagne flute with crushed ice, pour in Chivas Regal 12, then add apple schnapps (or clear apple juice if none available). Top with ginger ale

GARNISH
Place slice of green apple in glass and serve.


Chivas Old Fashioned

By Smiley Boyd, BASH, South Beach, Miami USA

INGREDIENTS

  • Generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Angostura bitters

  • White sugar

  • Soda water



METHOD
Soak the sugar with Angostura bitters, adding a splash of soda water to help the sugar dissolve. Add the Chivas Regal 12 while stirring. Fill the glass with ice and top with soda. Spray with orange zest.

GARNISH
Garnish with orange peel.


Chivas Mist

Makis Giordamis, Cosmos bar, Athens, Greece

INGREDIENTS

  • A generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Crushed ice

  • Orange zest (optional)



METHOD
Pour the Chivas Regal 12 into a glass over crushed ice. Spray with orange zest (optional).

GARNISH
Garnish with orange peel and serve.


Chivas Cooler

Joe Cabassa, CABBA Bar, San Juan,Puerto Rico

INGREDIENTS

  • A generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Ginger ale

  • Lime



METHOD
Fill your glass with ice cubes, pour the Chivas Regal 12 and top with ginger ale.

GARNISH
Finish with a wedge of lime.


Chivas Crush

Danny Undhammer, Abigail’s Party, London

INGREDIENTS

  • A generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Lemon juice

  • Gomme syrup

  • Apple juice

  • Mint

  • Ginger beer



METHOD
Shake all ingredients (with exception of ginger beer) in a Boston mixing glass, then strain into glass of crushed ice. Top with ginger beer.

GARNISH
Garnish with mint and serve.


Chivas Manhattan

Created by Peter Miscikowski, Match Restaurant, New York, USA

INGREDIENTS

  • A generous measure Chivas Regal 12

  • Sweet vermouth

  • Dry vermouth

  • Grand Marnier

  • Burnt orange zest



METHOD
Place the ice cubes in a glass. Pour in Chivas Regal 12, dry and sweet vermouth and a dash of Grand Marnier. Stir thoroughly and strain into a chilled martini glass.

GARNISH
Slice a piece of orange peel, set fire to the squeezed zest, place into a glass and serve.


Mint Julep

1 serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 12 sprigs of mint

  • 3 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon

  • 1 sprig of mint



METHOD
Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes; do not stir. Pour over the 12 sprigs of mint in a heat proof bowl, gently crushing the mint with the back of a spoon. Chill, covered, for 8 to 10 hours.

Strain , discarding the mint. You may store the syrup in the refrigerator for several weeks, preparing individual juleps as desired.

For each serving, fill a silver, copper, pewter or stoneware julep cup with broken or crushed ice. Add 2 tablespoons of the mint syrup and the Bourbon and stir gentle until the cup is frosted.

GARNISH
1 sprig of mint.


New Old-Fashioned

1 serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup

  • 5 dashes of bitters

  • 2 peach slices

  • 2 ½ ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon

  • Ice cubes

  • 2 blackberries

  • Splash of sparkling water



METHOD
Muddle the simple syrup, bitters and peach slice in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass.
Add the Bourbon, ice cubes, one peach slice, the blackberries and sparkling water and stir to combine.


Draconis


INGREDIENTS

  • 30ml Smokehead

  • 20ml Pressed Apple Juice

  • 10ml Creme de Cerise

  • 10ml Arakurum & coffee liqueur

  • 5ml Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice



METHOD
Shake and strain over cubed ice in a rocks glass.

GARNISH
A mint sprig and a flamed orange zest.


Island Sling


INGREDIENTS

  • 40ml Smokehead

  • 20ml Maraschino Liqueur

  • 20ml Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

  • 10ml Sugar Syrup

  • Dash Angostura Bitters



METHOD
Shake and strain over cubed ice in a sling.

GARNISH
A lemon wedge and a fresh stem cherry.


Smokezilla


INGREDIENTS

  • 40ml Smokehead

  • 20ml Navan Vanilla Cognac Liqueur 15ml Roner Pinot Noir Grappa

  • DashOrangeBitters



METHOD
Stir and fine strain into a frozen cocktail glass.

GARNISH
A white chocolate coated vanilla pod spiral.