As all whisky connoisseurs know, only Scotch can be spelt whisky, all others are spelt ‘whiskey’. Many will say that to use Scotch in a cocktail would be sacrilege, but whichever is chosen, each has its own special blend, resulting in a unique flavour. There are, surprisingly, a large number of whisky cocktails recipes available nowadays and the wonderful hints that will come through include toffee, mint, coffee, caramel, anise and curry, each providing the perfect base for any of the recipes. Starting with the more traditional, here are five that will tempt even non-whisky drinkers.
1. Manhattan Cocktail
This is traditionally made using a rye whiskey or bourbon to which sweet vermouth, such as Martini or Cinzano, and bitters are added. It is considered to be a sophisticated cocktail and is the perfect introduction to this type of drink. Serve it in a martini-style glass with a garnish of either orange peel or a Maraschino cherry.
2. Whisky Sour
Made from a mix of whisky, syrup and lemon or lime juice, this cocktail has a very special citrus tartness that compliments the sweeter notes of the whisky. It can also be very easily turned into a John Collins simply by adding club soda. The perfect garnish is either a slice of orange on the rim or a Maraschino cherry
3. Irish Coffee
A favourite with just about everyone, Irish Coffee is a delicious drink and the perfect end to a wonderful meal. Pour coffee into a glass, add sugar and stir until dissolved, then add the whisky. Either pour fresh cream over the top using the back of a spoon so it floats or use whipped cream as an easy alternative.
For a full guide on how to make the ‘ultimate’ Irish Coffee, be sure to check out The Guardian’s guide here.
4. Mint Julep
This is a wonderfully fresh cocktail which is perfect for a hot summer’s day. Place mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and cover them with sugar. Mash them together until the leaves begin to break down, then half-fill with crushed ice and a splash of soda water. Add bourbon or whisky and, finally, top up with soda water. Serve garnished with a sprig of mint and a lemon slice on the rim.
5. Lemon Cream Whiskey Cocktail
This is a special cocktail for cream lovers. Take a measure of Irish whiskey, one of cream schnapps or a liqueur such as Baileys, a measure of Limocello, some whole milk and, lastly, double cream. Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and gently blend. Half fill a glass with crushed ice and pour this delicious concoction over the top. Add a Maraschino cherry and decorate the rim with a slice of lemon.
The question often asked is which whisky is best to use in cocktails but there is no definitive answer. With such an ever-changing market, leading to a diverse difference in prices, the best whisky is one that matches personal taste. There are many brands that have been around for a long time, sitting on shelves alongside newcomers – both have their own merits. Remember though, that whisky will be the base of the cocktail and its flavour needs to come through in a distinct way. The best advice is to buy a few miniatures and enjoy a tasting session, or better still, mix a few cocktails, then make that all important decision.