Make Versatile Cocktails with Whisky as the Base
Whiskey is one of the most versatile categories of alcohol with so many options. Surely, the whiskey lovers enhance their wisdom about their favourite drink religiously. While a layman would think that whiskey is yet another form of alcohol, the admirers of whiskey would tell you that it is an art from the brewing techniques to the taste, in-depth research and understanding of the environment goes in every process. Take, for instance, the effect of hot climate is massive at one stage when whiskey is kept for maturing. Whiskey in hot climate matures quickly compared to the cold weather and therefore it would be smoother and of course younger. Let us understand the factors that impact the quality of the whisky
Factors That Impact the Quality of Whisky
Quality of Water
Believe it or not but the quality of water impacts the overall taste of whisky considerably. Water is the base of any drink that is made whether alcohol or non-alcohol. Therefore, pure water and non-hard water can increase the quality of whisky and the final taste would be impacted significantly.
You must have heard about the Scottish whisky and their popularity across the globe compared to any other region. Scotch lovers will tell you that since the Scottish region has peat resources in abundance when added in the germinated barley it gives that unique smoky taste to the whisky for which scotch is famous. However, with the advancement in understanding and techniques, there has been a rise in the smoking techniques used for grains. There are techniques involving cherry wood and beechwood smokes along with peat and so on. As a result, you get to enjoy those diverse smoky flavours more often.
As we discussed above, the impact of weather is inevitable in the formation of whisky. Hot weather is relatively more favourable for the fermentation and processing of whisky as the heat is known to enhance the taste and flavours of any food or drink. Moreover, whisky matures quickly in hot weather and is smoother in taste. A whisky connoisseur will even tell you the intricacies such as the floor on which the barrel is stored can sharpen or dampen the flavours with one or other dominating. The hotter floors ie the topmost floors of the warehouse will have warmer temperature and therefore water molecules will evaporate compared to the barrels stored in the subsequent lower floors.
Aging and Warehousing
We have been hearing how the more you age your whisky the better and smoother it tastes. However, contradictory to what you have been believing until now, ageing is not the only factor that impacts the taste and texture of whisky. Other factors such as warehousing also play an important role in defining the quality of the whisky. It is hard to believe but from the paint on the exterior walls to the material used for the construction of a warehouse and more play a very important role. For instance, having an appropriate number of windows and the right direction of it to have optimum sunlight is something that the distillers do consider. Controlling the temperature of the warehouse either naturally or through installation also matters. Since we want the warehouse to be at the optimum temperature for whisky to mature, controlling it also has a role to play.
Both the way barrels are stored and the material they are made of impacts the taste and texture of whisky. There are various types of barrels such as wood finish, wine finish, port finish, Madeira finish and so on. Each if these types have something unique such as wood finish barrels are usually made from virgin American Oak, Japanese oak etc whereas Portuguese wood will be used to carve out a Madeira finish casket and have typical flavours such as figs, spices, etc.
Easy to Make Whisky Cocktail Recipes
Now, that we know how to choose our brand of whisky for making whisky cocktails, let us dive right into some of the trending whisky cocktail recipes.
We can comfortably name it original Irish coffee even though there are a lot of deviated versions of Irish coffee. However, the original Irish coffee is the blend of fine whisky and coffee. To start with the process, warm the mugs first to make sure that the glass mug does not crack while pouring the hot coffee. Next, add brown sugar according to your taste in the hot coffee and dissolve it completely. Once the brown sugar is completely dissolved, add whisky of your choice in the coffee. Top it up with whipped cream to sit back and relax with this easy and delicious cocktail.
You might experience that this cocktail mix goes by different names in different places. However, to enjoy your favourite blend of the drink you should know all the ingredients that go into this cocktail. To make this cocktail, you would need rye whisky, absinthe, Italian vermouth and Angostura bitters. The proportion would be 1oz each of whisky, absinthe and Italian vermouth and a dash of angostura bitters. Now, mix all the ingredients with the cracked ice to form a smooth blend and strain pour it into a cocktail glass. Make sure that the cocktail glass is chilled before pouring the drink.
Green Tea Highball
If you are a fan of Japanese whisky then this cocktail recipe is for you. A refreshing mix of green tea and fine whisky is just what you need to be sipping on to uplift the mood and energy.
For the ingredients, you would need:
- Japanese whisky – 2 ounce
- Brewed and cooled green tea – 2 ounce
- Soda water
- Maple leaf candy for garnishing
To make this beautifully tasting cocktail, add both chilled green tea and whisky to a Cooling glass and stir. Do not forget to put an ice spear in the collin glass before pouring both whisky and green tea. Top the fine blend with soda water and garnish the drink with the maple leaf candy before serving it.
Basil Bourbon Mule
Both ginger and lemon go absolutely well with the whisky but the hero of this recipe is Basil leaf. For making this cocktail at home you will need easily available.
- Basil Leaves
- Bourbon – 2 oz
- Q Ginger Beer – 6 oz
- Lemon Twist
Now, add the bourbon in a muddler and drop 3-4 gently muddles basil leaves stirring the whisky very lightly. Add Ginger beer thereafter and again stir the blend lightly. Put the lemon twist and top the drink with some ice to enjoy.
This one from New Orleans is a complex cocktail to make but a legendary one. You would need Rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, two styles of bitters, Benedictine to make this cocktail. Measurement plays a great part of perfect tasting in this whiskey brand as you need:
- ¾ ounce rye whiskey
- ¾ ounce Cognac
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- ½ ounce Benedictine Liquor
- 1-2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1-2 dashes angostura aromatic bitters
- Cherry for garnishing
Now, we agree that there are a lot of ingredients but once you are through with the correct quantity, all you need to do is to mix all the ingredients in the jug with crushed ice and stir well. Strain the cocktail and garnish with cherry at the time of serving.
If you are confused to serve your guests with pure single malt or spice up things with interesting cocktails, go for Dry Mahoney. The drink with whisky as the base is not stubborn and fluctuates between that strong hit of whisky but with a hint of fun. It would be right to call this drink a bourbon martini. As complicated, it might sound, making Dry Mahoney is actually a breeze and requires just three ingredients. Let us look at the ingredients you need for making this classy cocktail:
- ½ oz of dry vermouth
- 2 ½ oz of bourbon
- Lemon twist
Now, put some ice in the cocktail shaker followed by dry vermouth and bourbon in the mentioned measures. Mix well and strain the liquid in the chilled cocktail glass to top it up with a lemon twist. You are all set to serve this beautifully simple yet classy cocktail to your guests.
The infusion of fruit flavours with whisky is nothing new and whisky sour with orange and lemon is one of the most loved cocktails with whisky as a base. However, if you are looking to serve something different to your guests then try making a smoky sour cocktail. Although there are many versions of this cocktail we will take a relatively interesting one. Let us have a look at the ingredients:
- ¾ shot Maple syrup
- 1 shot Scotch whisky
- 1 shot Lemon juice
- 1 shot Islay single malt scotch whisky
- 1 dash aromatic bitters
- ½ shot pasteurised egg white
Add all the ingredients in the cocktail shaker and shake well with ice. Now strain the mix in another shaker without ice and pour it in the old-fashioned whisky glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve chilled for the best experience.
The name sounds elegant and so is this cocktail that has Glenfiddich whisky as the base. Not many would know that Silver Tips Imperial Darjeeling Magical tea is the ingredient that makes this cocktail not just special but also quite expensive and available at only selected places.
A cocktail typically made for the whisky lovers, the ingredients you would require are:
- Glenfiddich 21 year old
- Silver tips full moon tea
- Nasturtium Orange ice cube
Add the ingredients in the cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake well. Strain it in the elegant whisky glass and your super exotic alcohol is ready to serve.
A hybrid between the dry martini and whiskey sour, this cocktail derives its name from the rule breakers. We cannot agree more about the cocktail breaking the rules fashionably with being a hybrid between the two established whisky-based cocktails.
Let’s talk about the ingredients and the mixing process of this cocktail:
- 2 ounces bourbon whisky (or even rye whisky will do)
- ¼ ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 dash of grenadine
- 1 ounce of dry vermouth
- 1 dash of orange bitters
Although the ingredients are more in number compared to any other cocktail we have discussed until now, but that is the hardest part. Once you are set with the measured quantity of each of the ingredients, just add all the ingredients into the shaker with ice and shake. Thereafter, strain the cocktail into the chilled glass and serve.
Carve out an exotic drink from the classic Italian bitter Cynar which is a fine blend of 13 herbs. A combination of rye whisky and cynar creates the magic in this cocktail where the latter mellows down the burn of rye at the same time opening the flavours. However, making this remarkably interesting cocktail is unexpectedly simple with you needing only the following ingredients:
- 4 ounces of rye
- 1 ½ ounces cynar
- 2 teaspoon simple syrup
- 4 dashes angostura bitters
Mix rye whisky, bitters and simple syrup in the cocktail shaker and fill it with the ice. Shake it well for about 20 seconds and then strain in the coupe glasses to serve it to the guests.
Useful Mixology Tips
Don’t Underrate the Importance of Ice
While making whiskey cocktails you should put ice as well because cocktails taste the best when chilled. Moreover, the ice in your cocktail would also help in releasing the flavour of the drink.
Bottled Juices Should be Avoided
Whiskey or any other cocktail for that matter should not have bottled up juices. You should try to induce the natural flavours in the cocktails for the best taste and experience.
Tone Down the Ingredient List
A good cocktail should have a divine taste of all the ingredients giving you a subtle hint. However, too many ingredients might leave you confused and not sure of the hero of the cocktail.
Never drink excessively. Just drink how much you can handle. Don’t ever drink on an empty stomach. Be sure to have a good meal before or along with your drinks and preferably carbohydrates. Avoid consuming sweets while drinking.