Wild Spirit

We meet Talisker ambassador and World Class global finalist Jason Clark to learn about the Wild Spirit cocktail techniques
By Christopher Coates
What do you feel is unique about Talisker cocktails?
Talisker makes an ideal base for mixing cocktails as it has the body to stand up against mixers and other ingredients but won’t overpower the serve, while offering delicious complexity. Talisker has many layers of cereal notes, caramelised sugars, citrus fruits, salt and pepper, and maritime notes with a medium-dry, medium-smoky finish. This means it balances exceptionally well in mixed drinks and can integrate well with other flavours in cocktails. From sours and highballs to Old Fashioneds and Negronis, there are no limits when it comes to experimenting with Talisker.

What is Wild Spirit all about?
Wild Spirit is a new term coined by Talisker which is all about celebrating cocktails that really pay homage and showcase the great outdoors. We love to encourage bartenders to experiment and explore alternative methods for championing outdoor flavours and bringing them into the glass of their customers so that guests can experience these wild flavours in their cocktails. By using wild flavours in serves, bartenders can offer guests the experience of being outdoors when at the bar through the use of presentation and local ingredients.

How can one utilise foraging, home growing, seasonality and local ingredients to enhance drinks? 
Using local ingredients is a great way to enhance cocktails. Locally sourced, seasonal fruit would have not travelled as far and therefore is generally riper and has richer flavours, producing an overall greater-quality cocktail. For example, strawberries from a local farmers market will have a lot more flavour than something that has been transported from far away. Foraging for cocktails brings more excitement around the drink and creates a real story behind the serve. It means it is local, fresh, in season and packed full of flavour; bringing an element of satisfaction from knowing you are tasting and enjoying something directly from your environment. It can be a fantastic way to put a Wild Spirit twist on a much-loved classic, too, by enhancing it with foraged elements and adding a rustic flavour. However, a note of caution when it comes to foraging – people must know that the ingredients are edible and safe, and that they have been taken from a location with permission to pick.

You’re famous for coffee cocktails, are any suited to Talisker?
I love to experiment with different flavour combinations highlighting the unique characteristic of Talisker. Coffee and smoky whisky can be a tricky combination. However, when balanced correctly there are some interesting flavours that can be produced. Personally, my favourite is Talisker Negroni – made using 25ml Italian bitters, 25ml Talisker 10 Years Old, 25ml coffee-washed sweet vermouth and garnished with fresh orange zest and a piece of salted dark chocolate.

Follow Jason’s Wild Spirit journey on Instagram at @drinks_geek.

The cocktails

Forager's Fizz


  • 150ml Talisker 10 Years Old

  • 20ml Forager's Cordial No.1

  • 30ml soda

  • 2 dashes dandelion bitters

Build ingredients over ice in a tin mug and stir down.

Botanical of choice.

Hot Toddy


  • 50ml Talisker 10 Years Old

  • 10ml ginger liqueur

  • 15ml heather honey syrup

  • 25ml lemon juice

  • 25ml apple juice

  • 100ml boiling water

Build in a pre-heated mug.

Cinnamon spiced honey comb.

Orchard Harvest


  • 50ml Talisker 10 Years Old

  • 45ml rhubarb and verjus cordial

  • 60ml Braeburn apple juice

  • Top with soda

Build over ice in a chilled highball glass and stir down.

Foraged blackthorn blossom.

The Whisky


10 Years Old (45.8% ABV)
The quintessential expression from Skye’s original distillery. Peppery and spicy, with a pleasant touch of sulphur. Gentle wood smoke is interwoven with notes of apple and roasted pineapple. Well deserving of its reputation.

Other Ingredients

Forager's Cordial No.1
Add a selection of foraged botanicals (nettle, pine needle, grape leaf, hawthorn blossom, wild rhubarb and dandelion petals) to a simple syrup. Bring to boil and then simmer to infuse flavours. Balance with champagne acid. Strain to remove solids, allow to cool and bottle.

Rhubarb and verjus cordial
Created by extracting juice of stewed rhubarb and mixing with verjus, the tart, fresh juice of unripe wine grapes. Verjus Blanc is available by the bottle from specialist drinks stores. Take equal parts, mix and add sugar syrup over a low heat to taste. Allow to cool and bottle.