Well, I just got back from DC and my favorite bartender, Chris, had parted ways with my favorite bar (New Heights), so it seems appropriate to kick off this edition of the internet’s most sentimental monthly cocktail roundup with a drink of his creation.  Not that I’ll be pouring out a shot of genever over the rail for my lost barman – that would be a deplorable waste of perfectly good liquor, and I’m sure Chris would not approve.  Luckily, RumDood has chosen ginger as this month’s theme, which just happens to be the featured (non-alcoholic) ingredient in Chris’ most memorable creation, although, as the name itself has been forgotten (by me), I will refer to it as The Bracken, because it includes scotch, and bracken is totally Scottish.

The Bracken is an invaluable drink to know, because it is both incredibly simple and incredibly delicious.  It is not even a cocktail – no bitters are involved – and it is equally delicious with a boring, every-bar-has-it Glenlivet or a more interesting Springbank or Strathisla.  Yes, it is a scotch drink, in summer, no less, but it is worth it.  Bear with me, here.

The Bracken

  • 2 oz single-malt Highland scotch (I use Tamdhu, for cheapness!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 oz pure maple syrup (depending on sweetness tolerance)
  • 2 – 5 quarter sized pieces of peeled, fresh ginger (do you like ginger, or do you love ginger?)
    In the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle the ginger pieces and maple syrup.  Fill the glass with ice, then with the Scotch, then stir well, until combined and chilled.  Serve with a brandied cherry.

That’s it.  So easy you can explain it to any bartender (at least, any bartender who is willing to keep fresh ginger and maple syrup behind the bar).  Scotch seems to have a real affinity for ginger, and the fresh spiciness of the ginger really brings the stodgy peatiness of the scotch into relief.  The maple syrup is, well, maple syrup is awesome, right?  In fact, maple syrup contains sotolon, an old favorite of this blog, as well as furaneol (actually a trademark, but the real scientific name is cumbersome) and a number of other caramelish, burnt-sugar aroma-makers, all of which team up to make this the scotch drink that, without being boring, might convince your friend who doesn’t like Scotch that it’s actually worth drinking.  At least, as long as that friend likes ginger and maple syrup.  And if your friend doesn’t like ginger, maple syrup, and scotch, what the hell are they your friend for?  Do you owe them money?

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