Five whisky cocktails you might not have heard of

Whisky lovers often recoil from the thought of diluting their favourite dram in a cocktail...

…but the best whisky cocktails enhance the flavour of your top tipple.
I’ve been tasting some of the more obscure whisky cocktails to find ones that will shake up your celebrations. The five below pair different styles of whisky with common ingredients (and very simple methods) to create drinks that are sure to impress.

After eight Cocktail whisky

After Dinner Mint

A perfect Christmas whisky cocktail. Inspired by the minty chocolate brand After Eight and bringing some ‘70s kitsch in the form of peppermint schnapps, the After Dinner Mint cocktail is a surprising winner.

I’ve used Irish single malt whiskey as they typically carry a sweetness that’s ideal for this dessert of a cocktail. I also find the contrasting flavours of the Kahlua and peppermint bring out more of the fruity flavours of the whiskey.

Ingredients
60ml Irish single malt whiskey
15ml Kahlua
1 splash peppermint schnapps

Method
Fill your favourite highball or Old Fashioned glass with ice and pour over the whiskey and Kahlua. Give it a quick stir and top it with a splash of peppermint schnapps.

Black Hawk Whiskey Cocktail

Black Hawk

The Black Hawk is a classic whisky cocktail you don’t see around very often anymore. It combines the fruity berry flavours of sloe gin with the deep spiciness of rye whisky to create a balanced and comforting drink.
I’ve toned down the sweetness with lemon juice to help the whisky sing. But if you like your cocktails sweeter, you can reduce the amount of lemon or leave it out completely.

Ingredients
30ml rye whisky
30ml sloe gin
15ml lemon juice
Cherry garnish

Method
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add your rye whisky, sloe gin and lemon juice. Make sure the lid of your shaker is firmly in place and shake until the shaker starts to turn frosty. Use a cocktail strainer and sieve as your pour your Black Hawk into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry for added retro charm.

New-York-Sour-Cocktail

New York Sour

A twist on the classic whisky sour, the New York Sour is a surprising whisky cocktail made with red wine. The idea behind adding a red wine float is to lessen the sour punch of the lemon juice without destroying the character of a whisky sour. I’ve made this with a good bourbon as the sweetness goes well with a sour and the red wine carries the flavours of the virgin oak.

Ingredients
60ml bourbon
15ml lemon juice
1tsp simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar)
45ml chilled dry red wine, such as a cabernet sauvignon or merlot
Lemon twist garnish

Method
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add your bourbon, lemon juice and syrup. Make sure the lid of your shaker is firmly in place and shake until the shaker starts to turn frosty. Use a cocktail strainer and sieve as your pour your sour into a chilled rocks glass. Float the red wine on top
and garnish with a lemon twist and twizzle stick. Be sure to serve your New York Sour with the red wine as a clear layer but give it a quick stir
before drinking.

Horses Neck Whisky Cocktail

Scotch Horse’s Neck

This whisky cocktail takes its name from its impressive garnish – the peel from a lemon taken off in a single spiral. You probably won’t see a Scotch Horse’s Neck in a bar too often as the best recipes I’ve found all tell you to leave the cocktail to mature for 10 minutes, and who wants
to spend that long waiting for a drink on a night out?

I’ve found this works really well with the floral notes you usually find in a lowland single malt. Those lighter notes seem to float on top of the punchy vermouth flavours.

Ingredients
A whole lemon peel in one piece
90ml lowland whisky
15ml sweet vermouth
15ml dry vermouth

Method
Add the peel to a highball glass with one end hanging over the rim. Pour in the scotch and vermouths before filling the glass with ice. Stir and leave to mature for around 10 minutes before drinking – the wait is worth it as the lemon infuses and the flavours mellow.

The Shoot Whisky Cocktail

The Shoot

While The Shoot was traditionally the go-to whisky cocktail to follow a day of pheasant shooting, it’s a great cocktail for any cold, wet day. The mix of dry sherry and citrus fruits is incredibly comforting in front of a fire. I’ve used a Speyside whisky as they usually pack a fruity punch themselves, with the preference for sherry casks bringing more ripe, warming flavours.

Ingredients
30ml Speyside whisky
30ml dry sherry
1tsp lemon juice
1tsp orange juice
1/2tsp simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar)

Method
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all the cocktail ingredients. Make sure the lid of your shaker is firmly in place and shake until the shaker starts to turn frosty. Use a cocktail strainer and sieve as your pour into a chilled martini glass.

A big thank you to Club Member Gary for sharing his knowledge for the benefit of other Members. If you’d like to create a blog post for the Club, please get in touch with Dan at hello@summertonclub.com