I’ve seen this look before… The grimacing smile on the face of someone who just asked me for a whiskey recommendation, took a big gulp and is now trying to appease me by pretending the taste is what he or she was expecting.
Questions begin to race through my mind… Did I suggest a bad whiskey…? Should I have told them to take it easy…? Or are they simply not used to sipping whiskey and are a bit shocked by their experience? In my humble opinion it’s more than likely a mixture of question two and three. Sometimes I forget that I’ve been drinking whiskey on the rocks for a very long time now and not only am I prepared for what I am about to taste but that I don’t try to drink the whole glass in one gulp either.
So how do I help those new to whiskey overcome a (more than likely) poor first impression of the spirit that I love and start experiencing and enjoying such a fantastic drink? The answer, old school cocktails. I don’t mean drowning delicious whiskey in a river of Coca-Cola or a terribly sweet Whiskey Sour. I mean good old fashioned, carefully measured, more whiskey than mixers, prohibition style cocktails.
While I’m still new to mixing drinks I am lucky enough to have some non-whiskey drinkers that are willing to taste test my recipes! So grab some good whiskey, a handful of the following ingredients and a few willing and thirsty friends and enjoy evening of Whiskey Cocktails.
2 oz. Rye Whiskey (Sazerac if you can find it)
½ Tsp. Sugar
2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 Lemon Peel Twist
8 drops Pernod (Absinthe / Herbsaint Substitute)
* Drip the Pernod in the glass but shake out any excess (don’t drop into drink).
* Dissolve the sugar first with 1 Tsp. of water.
2-½ oz. Bourbon
2 Orange Slices
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
½ Tsp. Sugar
* Use a muddler and crush up 1 orange slice, 1 cherry (no stem) and the rest of the ingredients in your glass then add the bourbon and ice. The other orange slice and cherry are for garnish.
2 oz. Wheat Whiskey
½ oz. Cointreau
1 Dash Orange Bitters
1 Orange Slice for Garnish
Mix everything in a shaker with ice, pour into a highball glass and top off with seltzer water.
3 oz. Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Maraschino Cherry
I put everything but the cherry in the shaker over ice. It just seemed to mix better.
1 ½ oz. Canadian Whisky
4 oz. Ginger Ale
½ oz. Cranberry Juice
1 Orange Wedge
Shake with ice but strain it so you don’t get ice in your drink. Garnish with an orange wedge.
3 oz. Canadian Whisky
½ oz. Pure Maple Syrup
Soda Water (to top off drink)
Shake over ice and strain into a short glass. Finish with soda water. Also, make sure to clean out your shaker after making this drink since the maple taste tends to need washed out.