Islay Vacation

If all you think of when you think of Scotch is old men in suits, it's time to expand your horizons. 

Scotch is essentially just whiskey, but with a little something extra... Peat. What is it? Well, let us tell you. Peat is basically old, decayed plant material that forms over thousands of years in certain areas. Scotland, for instance, is one of those areas. The peat is cut from the ground in blocks, dried and used as a fuel source. We'll come back to the use of peat in just a minute...

When making Scotch (and most spirits), grains (barley, rye, etc.) are turned into a mash (think runny oatmeal) and yeast eats the sugars, creating alcohol. That mash is then distilled and the booze is aged in barrels. By allowing the grains to partially germinate, it converts starches into sugars. But you want to stop the germination process with heat before the grains actually sprout. A 'peated' whisky refers to the use of peat as the heat source in drying the grain prior to making the mash. The smoky flavors from the peat add significant character the end product, making Scotch unique from other whisk(e)ys. 

Now that we've had a history lesson, let's talk about this cocktail. Since Scotch has so much flavor, we figured we would use it in a Tiki drink, a perfect cocktail to appreciate the flavors of Scotch without slapping you across the face with them. The use banana, in particular, is a great partner for the flavors of good Scotch. In this case, we're using Laphroaig (pronounced like this). It's been around for 200 years, so you know they've got their shit together.

equipment:

cocktail shaker
cocktail strainer
collins glass

ingredients

1.5 oz Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz banana puree (just mash up a ripe banana until very smooth)
1 oz simple syrup
4 dashes tiki bitters
fresh mint for garnish

method:

Combine everything except the mint in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with ice to chill. Transfer to a glass and garnish with fresh mint.