A Muddled Thought

Islay Ah Huh cocktail with featuring Johnnie Walker Double Black.

Recently I was working on a few new whisky cocktails and I decided to grab a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black to work with.

What’s the difference between Johnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black you might ask?

In the case of Johnnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black, it’s all about the smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black consists of a blend of malt whiskies with a minimum age of 12 years and grain whisky. You take that same formula and add in some whiskies from the Islay region of Scotland, known for peaty and smoky whiskies and you’ve got Johnie Walker Double Black.

Johnnie Walker Double Black
In creating this cocktail I decided to go with Johnnie Walker Double Black as I wanted a smoky component in the cocktail, In using the Johnnie Walker Double Black I also had notes of allspice, nutmeg, apple, tropical fruit and a touch of bitterness to play off.

Inspired by these flavors I wanted to create a scotch based tiki cocktail that could work in winter and also still work in summer. Continuing the concept of tiki, I named this cocktail “Islay ah huh,” which means “Island of Huh” and is a play on the gaelic word ah which translates to of.

Islay Ah Huh

2 oz Johnnie Double Black
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz Busnel Calvados
1/2 Campari
1/2 oz Demerara syrup
2 Dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker tin.Shake with ice. Strain or double strain into coupe or cocktail glass.

The Curious George with Taketsuru 12 Year Japanese Whisky

Recently I had the chance to work with Taketsuru 12 Year Old Japanese Whisky from Nikka and highlight it in a cocktail at Whiskyfest for the New York Chapter of United States Bartenders Booth.

Taketsuru 12 Year old
is fairly new to the United States having only been released at the end of 2012 and now only becoming available to several states beyond its initial release in California.

Taketsuru is a vatted or blended malt and is a combination of a variety of single malts from both the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries. These whiskies are aged in a number of different barrel types including virgin American oak, refilled barrels, and sherry butts(barrels or butts that previously were used to age sherry).

With heavy fruits such as cherry, banana and apple, alongside hints of christmas spice, cocoa and light peat throughout each sip, Taketsuru 12 year lends itself easily in being used as the base in cocktails.

Inspired by the heavy fruit notes I was inspired to create the “Curious George” cocktail. This name comes from those fruit notes specifically the banana and my desire to have a little fun with this cocktail, which essentially is a play on an old-fashioned.

Curious George
2 oz Taketsuru 12 Year Japanese Whisky
1/2 oz Briottet Creme De Banana
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
2 Dashes The Bitter TruthJerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Directions: Combine ingredients in Mixing Glass. Stir and strain over giant rock in old-fashioned glass.

Garnish with two Luxardo Maraschino Cherries

The Kobayashi Maru

About two months ago I asked to create a cocktail featuring Ketel One Vodka for a charity event benefiting Wine to Water.

Vodka is one of those spirits that I find a lot of people don’t like to worth with as isn’t often much flavor to play off of when creating a new cocktail. When tasting Ketel One I was hit with some notes of cocoa, vanilla and light citrus that helped me develop this cocktail. The name Kobayashi Maru comes from Star Trek, and was an unbeatable training scenario that Kirk had to go through at Star Fleet academy. More info on this can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru

I felt the name fit the challenge since most people find Vodka hard to be creative with. That being said the Kobayashi Maru is a vodka based old-fashioned variation swapping out the rye or bourbon for Ketel One Vodka.

The Kobayashi Maru

2oz Ketel One Vodka
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz White Creme De Cacao
2 Dashes Bittermens Xocaltl Mole Bitters Directions:
Stir in mixing glass with ice.
Strain over Giant Rock into Old Fashioned Glass.
Garnish with grapefruit twist.

*The Ice Trays shown can be purchased from www.cocktailkingdom.com