Moscow Monkey

The Moscow Mule has been a popular mainstay in American cocktail culture for decades. Invented in Manhattan, it's only Russian roots are in the vodka that it is traditionally made with. Nowadays, there are bars hosting "mule nights," copper mugs seem to be available everywhere, and Oprah has declared the Moscow Mule her favorite cocktail. So yeah, mules are pervasive these days. That being said, we are always on the lookout for new twists on classic favorites, which is why we think this Moscow Monkey is the perfect new way to try something new while still enjoying one of our old standbys. 

We know some of you out there might be a little intimidated by scotch, or thinking why are we mixing scotch with sweet ginger syrup? A good way to introduce yourself to the world of scotch is to start with a nice blended whiskey, such as Monkey Shoulder. While single-malts can range in flavor from mellow whiskey flavored water to chewing on moss-covered used firewood, blended scotches tend to strike a nice balance in the middle, combining smoky, earthy notes with a smooth drinkability. Any pretentious scotch nerd will tell you that single malts should only be consumed neat or perhaps with one single cube of ice. While that may be true, a blended scotch can be enjoyed the same way, or can be added to cocktails to impart subtle qualities for the greater good.

Ginger also happens to be one of the most versatile flavors on the planet. Like the color black, ginger goes with just about everything.  While it is still apparent, it, along with the lime juice, fades into the background behind the peaty, smoky flavor of the Monkey Shoulder.

Equipment

Copper mule mug

Ingredients

2 oz Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
.5 oz  Pickett’s ginger beer syrup
1 oz soda water
lime garnish

Method

Combine all ingredients in mule mug. Give a quick stir and enjoy.

Fig and Fox

Though it technically can't be called Scotch, Copper Fox Rye Whiskey is made with a generous amount of smoked malt, giving it a smoky flavor similar to Scotch, but with the spice of a great rye whiskey. 

Copper Fox Rye Whiskey is one of the many amazing brands joining us for Best of the Barrel. Hailing from Virginia, the folks at Copper Fox Distillery spent a lot of time in Scotland studying the art and science behind making Scotch. The brought this knowledge to their distillery and now make and distribute their products around the country.

For this cocktail, we wanted to play off of the smoky flavor of the Copper Fox Rye and round it out with rich flavors from the fig jam, port wine and black walnut bitters. But it's the acidity of the lemon juice that really sets this one of. Without it, it would be just sweet and smoky. With it, it's a perfectly-balanced (if we do say so ourselves) cocktail.

equipment:

cocktail shaker
cocktail strainer
fine mesh strainer
cocktail glass

Ingredients 

1.5 oz Copper Fox Rye Whiskey
2 tsp fig jam
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz port wine
2 dash black walnut bitters
strip of lemon zest for garnish

method:

Combine the booze, lemon juice, fig jam, port wine and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it vigorously to chill and incorporate the flavors of the jam. Double strain to remove particles into your chilled glass. Express the oils from the lemon peel into the cocktail and place on the edge of the glass to garnish.

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.