Enough has certainly been written about the implications of the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut products, so I’m going to go ahead and add the straw that breaks the metaphorical camel’s metaphorical back. As a student of food science (“Not enough food or science”, to quote my undergraduate advisor), it’s my informed judgment that we need to form a mob, just a whole bunch of mens, just running. To paraphrase Marion Nestle, we’re not unreasonable in expecting our food to be free of shit. So I’m going to write about distilled liquor, which I can guarantee is 100% shit-free.
Maybe it’s because the temperature has stayed well below freezing in Illinois for the last few weeks, but Scotch has been very much on my mind. Luckily, mixing with Scotch seems to be the new thing this year. Or something. I know for sure that Scotch was the subject of an article in the latest Imbibe, and that it showed up in a lot of the cocktails from this month’s MxMo. So, with that in mind, I’ve been toying with something that I’m now satisfied with: the Improved Scotch Cocktail.
Improved Scotch Cocktail
- 2 oz blended Scotch (I use Islay Mist)
- 2 barspoons simple syrup (Homemade Jaggery Syrup)
- 1 dash Maraschino (Luxardo)
- 1 dash Absinthe (Herbsaint)
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Stir well over ice. Garnish with a lemon zest and brandied cherries on a stick, if you’ve got them.
While this is certainly not a new drink (the Improved Cocktail being one of the many fine recipes to be found in Dave Wondrich’s Imbibe!, not to be confused with the magazine), I don’t think he actually suggests making it with Scotch, which is a shame because, as Jamie Boudreau points out, Scotch, cherry, and Peychaud’s (read: anise) are made for each other. It also plays into my new-found enjoyment of moderate amounts of Maraschino.
I tried making this with a single malt (Tamdhu 10-year), and found that it was missing something. The Islay Mist, despite recalling a name for off-brand soap, is a nicely smokey blend, which, while not super-classy, really does well in mixed drinks. That being said, the Tamdhu is a Speyside, and I don’t have the heart (or, really, financial wherewithal) to experiment with using my bottle of young Caol Ila, a super-smoky Islay, in this drink.