While you’ll often find us drinking ours neat or with a little ice, Scotch whisky is actually one of the most flexible – not to mention delicious – spirits when it comes to the elite art of cocktail mixing. With International Scotch Day almost upon us, we thought what better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than by exploring some of the essential cocktails that every whisky fan should have within their repertoire.
To help ensure that each and every one of these beverages is as mouth-watering as possible, we’ve included a whisky recommendation from Benriach’s extensive range, as the breadth of flavours the range contains really helps to bring these cocktails to life. So with that, happy International Scotch Day, all! Let’s dive right in or if you want to know, check out our complete guide to whisky types and styles.
Let’s start this journey with a cocktail that contains not one but two outstanding whiskies. The Penicillin combines the smooth flavour of Benriach’s Original Ten with the peatier Smoky Ten to achieve just the right level of smokiness. This is then offset by the sweetness of the honey-ginger syrup and the exquisite citrus tang of the fresh lemon juice.
A relative newcomer to the cocktail scene, the Penicillin was created by bartender Sam Ross in the early-2000s, during his stint at New York City’s famous Milk & Honey bar. While it may not have the same storied history as some of the other cocktails on this list, we should all be grateful to Mr Ross as it’s an outstanding creation by any measure.
- 45ml Benriach’s The Original Ten
- 15ml Benriach’s The Smoky Ten
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 20ml honey-ginger syrup
- Lemon and candied ginger to garnish
- Combine both whiskies, the lemon juice and honey-ginger syrup in a cocktail shaker;
- Shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass;
- Garnish with lemon and candied ginger.
Blood and Sand
Cocktails and cinema have always had a strong link, whether we’re talking Bond’s martinis, Casablanca’s French 75, or The Dude’s constant White Russians in The Big Lebowski. One that you may not realise helped to establish this link is the Blood and Sand. Named for a 1922 bullfighter romance/drama, its ingredients may raise an eyebrow, but when combined they work in harmony to create a truly delicious concoction.
For this cocktail we’re going with Benriach’s The Original Ten as its smooth and multi-layered character creates a great foundation without denying the other ingredients their chance to shine.
- 25mL of Benriach’s The Original Ten
- 25mL of cherry liqueur
- 25mL of sweet vermouth
- 25mL of fresh orange juice
- An orange peel to garnish
- Combine Benriach’s The Original Ten and the rest of your ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker;
- Shake, then strain into a glass;
- Garnish with the orange peel.
Despite the fact it has its origins in the 18th century efforts of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon of England to keep his men healthy by serving them alcohol mixed with lime, a Whisky Sour never fails to get the night off to a strong start.
For this recipe we’ve selected Benriach’s The Smoky Twelve. The smoke and citrus elements make a surprisingly delicious combination and ensure you can taste the whisky in every sip.
- 50mL of Benriach’s The Smoky Twelve
- 20mL of lemon juice
- 15mL of egg white (or vegan alternative of choice)
- 15mL of almond syrup
- Measure Benriach’s The Smoky Twelve into a shaking tin;
- Measure all other ingredients into a shaking tin;
- Add cubed ice to the tin;
- Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
When the name Rob Roy springs to mind, we don’t just think of an 18th-century Scottish clan chief who bears a striking resemblance to Liam Neeson. We also think of a delicious cocktail that’s very similar to a Manhattan, but upgrades from bourbon (or rye whiskey) to Scotch whisky.
You don’t want your whisky selection to be too peaty here or you risk overpowering the vermouth, so we’ve gone with Benriach’s delightful The Twelve to create a perfectly balanced drink that you’ll absolutely savour.
- 50mL of Benriach’s The Twelve
- 25mL of sweet vermouth
- 2 of dashes Angostura bitters
- An orange peel or fresh cherry to garnish
- Add your Angostura bitters, sweet vermouth and Benriach’s The Twelve to a mixing glass;
- Add ice and then stir until chilled;
- Strain into a glass and then add the orange peel and/or fresh cherry as garnish.
It feels fitting that we’re wrapping up our list with this absolute classic. Like an autumn take on a Negroni, the Boulevardier provides an added touch of warmth by swapping out the gin for whisky. Invented in the 1920s, the fact this cocktail has lasted a full century should tell you it’s one worth trying.
We’ve selected Benriach’s The Twelve for this one because it’s rich, balanced, and will surely elevate your Boulevardier.
- 30ml Benriach’s The Twelve
- 20ml sweet vermouth
- 20ml Campari
- Orange peel for garnish
- Add whisky, Campari and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled;
- Strain over one large rock of ice in a rocks glass;
- Garnish with a zest of orange.
To learn more about Benriach’s extensive whisky range, click below!