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9 cocktails for new whisky drinkers

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There is a real luxury quality to whisky. Maybe it’s the history and heritage, maybe it’s Don Draper or David Beckham. Perhaps the allure is related to it being a rather harsh drink, something which you must persevere with, to develop a taste for over a period of time. I’ve been through that process myself and while I’m able to thank myself now, it wasn’t always enjoyable.

It seems strange that in order to recruit new drinkers to the tipple, they must each go through an initiation of sorts. “Licensees need to remember that for people that haven’t drunk Scotch before it can be considered quite a brutal drink if drank neat”, says Johnnie Walker Ambassador Ali Reynold, “ease customers in”. Cocktails are perhaps the best way to get consumers to try whisky, explore the category and ultimately buy more!

With that in mind, here are a collection of simple and effective whisky cocktails that will help you grow your whisky sales. Check them out and let us know what you think. Which whisky cocktails are your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.

Bourbon Rickey

Although the most well-known Rickey cocktail is the Gin Rickey, the Ricky cocktail was originally created using bourbon. It was first made in the 1880’s in Washington D.C. by bartender George A. Williamson and is named for lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey.

Ingredients

  • 50ml bourbon, we recommend Maker’s Mark
  • Half of a lime
  • Sparkling water to top

Method

Fill a highball glass with ice and pour over the bourbon. Squeeze half a lime and drop into the glass. Top with sparkling water. Delicious and refreshing, a great introduction to bourbon.

Horse's Neck

Another cocktail often made with something other than whiskey. In this case brandy is more commonly used but the bourbon variant is just as tasty. An American cocktail, the drink dates back to the 1890’s. When made with Maker's as suggested here it’s often called the Kentucky Gentleman.

Ingredients

Method

Fill a chilled highball glass with ice cubes. Add the bourbon and then the bitters. Top up with ginger ale. Garnish with a strip of lemon rind.

Low Flying Punch

A refreshing punch made with The Famous Grouse sometimes referred to as 'The low flyer'. It’s a combination of juices and port wine to deliver a refreshingly fruity cocktail.

Ingredients

Method

Pour all ingredients into a Boston shaker glass in the order listed. Fill with ice and shake hard for 4 seconds and strain into rocks glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Auchentoshan and Ale

Whisky and ale undoubtedly go together well but rarely in the same glass. Perhaps surprisingly the flavours of the two combine to produce a very refreshing drink.

Ingredients

Method

Combine the whisky, lemon juice and honey syrup in a Boston shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into an enamel mug with ice. Top with the beer and garnish with a lemon wedge.

The Whisky Sour

A classic cocktail with disputed origins but like many on this list is thought to date to the late 19th century. Unsurprisingly it has a big hit of citrus sourness will assist new whisky drinkers overcome the harshness of whisky.

Ingredients

  • 50ml whisky, we recommend The Famous Grouse
  • 37.5ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml simple syrup
  • Egg white – around half of 1 egg (optional)

Method

Combine the whisky, lemon juice and honey syrup in a Boston shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into an enamel mug with ice. Top with the beer and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Blood and Sand

Named the 1922 movie Blood and Sand, this cocktail is a Scotch whisky classic. It first appeared in print in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.

Ingredients

Method

Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled Coupe glass. It’s a simple as that!

Mint Julep

A sharp and refreshing American classic from the 1800’s, well known for being served at the Kentucky Derby. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served over the Derby weekend.

Ingredients

Method

Add all ingredients to the glass (Rocks or Julep tin) and half fill with crushed ice. Cover the top of the vessel with a napkin in your hand to stop leaking and stir vigorously for 5 seconds. Add more crushed ice to almost fill the vessel and repeat stirring process. Finally top the drink with a mound of ice and a sprig of mint to finish. Sprinkle over some powdered sugar.

Manhattan

Not to play favourites, but I love a Manhattan. The Manhattan is one of five cocktails named for New York City boroughs and is thought to have originated at the Manhattan Club around 1870.

Ingredients

Method

Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes and add all ingredients. Stir until you reach the right level of dilution. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry if red vermouth used, or a lemon twist if dry vermouth used.

Old Fashioned

The earliest definition of a cocktail is a “concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar” which is also the recipe for this drink. Its origins are in the mid-18th century US.

Ingredients

Method

Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a chilled Old Fashioned glass and add two dashes of water and two dashes of Angostura. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice pour over the Johnnie Walker Black Label. Stir and garnish with a slice of orange.

Inspired to serve cocktails in your outlet? Find out more about our Spirit Specialists hereTo find out more about our range, take a look here. We're here to support you with everything that you need to make your range a success, from free menu design and print and barware at exclusive Matthew Clark prices.

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