Rihanna has sung about her love for whisky in two chart-topping tracks and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has praised the amber liquid too, but no one says it better than American humourist and writer Mark Twain: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough.”
Twain is one amongst a long list of elite whisky aficionados, with everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Hillary Clinton professing their partiality for the liquid over the years. If you fancy yourself a whisky lover too, you’ve certainly opted to take your tipple either on the rocks or neat often enough. Every once in a while though, even the most committed whisky drinker likes to mix things up — and for those memorable moments, a classic whisky cocktail comes to the rescue!
From Hollywood hottie Mila Kunis and Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, to the inimitable Clint Eastwood, every fan worth a dram has a favourite whisky-based cocktail. While we list our favourite whisky cocktails of all time, we’re also uncovering a secret club of connoisseurs who love scotch just like we do!
THE WONDERFUL WHISKY SOUR
World Whisky Day is around the corner and while we’re delightedly planning to celebrate the occasion with friends, we’re happy to note it isn’t the only day dedicated to whisky on an annual basis. Believe it or not, the Whisky Sour has an independent day earmarked in its honour and while August 25 is currently called ‘National Whisky Sour Day’ only in the United States of America, that’s something one should consider celebrating elsewhere too! Actress Mila Kunis and pop icon Taylor Swift agree and they’ll likely be marking the day with a tipple or two, since this whisky cocktail tops their list of all-time favourites.
To join these lovely ladies by mixing your own Whisky Sour (you needn’t wait until August 25!), follow this simple recipe. Put whisky, lemon juice, sugar syrup and ice into a shaker (you can opt to add a little egg white as well) and shake hard for about 20 seconds, until the liquid has chilled. Strain the mix into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a cherry and orange slice. Stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari adds a touch of honey to his Whisky Sour, calling that variation ‘The Gold Rush’. Whichever recipe you prefer (here are a handful), there’s no two ways about this: As cocktails go, the sophisticated Whisky Sour is a much-loved classic.
THE OLD FASHIONED HAS OOMPH!
These days, some of the most popular bars in the country are making the classic Old Fashioned cocktail new again, with trendy twists that range from adding bacon to popped corn! In its original avatar, the cocktail — consisting of whisky, simple syrup, Angostura bitters and maraschino cherries — is Star Wars creator George Lucas’ favourite drink. In ‘reel’ life, it is the dapper Don Draper’s favoured tipple too. Of course historians (who smartly study the history of whisky) suggest the classic cocktail was ‘born’ in 1880, in Louisville, Kentucky, at a private social organisation called The Pendennis Club. It was there that James E. Pepper — described as “a bartender and esteemed bourbon aristocrat” — apparently invented the drink, before he brought the recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.
Coming in at No. 2 on our top 5 list, the Old Fashioned is now available with ease at your local watering hole, so no one needs to fly to NYC for the tipple! Better still, why not follow any of the simple recipes we’ve shared with you in the past, and savour this lush liquid treat in the comfort of your own home.
DO THE JIG WITH JOHNNIE GINGER
Less myth and more urban legend, it is said that Halle Berry once chugged a half-pint of whisky faster than her Kingsman co-star Channing Tatum; putting the beefy bloke to shame in the drinking department. Truth be told, there may be many things you can mix with your whisky, but there’s only one correct speed at which to drink it. Slow. It’s no wonder then we prefer to retell actress Christina Hendricks’ whisky tales. The Mad Men star — whose favourite whisky just happens to be Johnnie Walker — says she first started to sip scotch while her friends were drinking it, and only developed a real appreciation for it after sharing Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks with her husband, Geoffrey Arend. Much like Christina and Geoffrey’s ‘made for each other’ story, our current favourite cocktail has evolved from a match made in heaven. Combining the depth of Red Label with the refreshing taste of natural ginger, Johnnie Ginger is a cocktail that’s crafted to perfection. Watch this video and follow the recipe to savour this exceptional whisky cocktail at leisure. Even if you don’t script your own love story over a Johnnie Ginger, you will certainly love the drink!
SAY CHEERS WITH CLINT EASTWOOD
With a moniker like ‘Clint Eastwood,’ does this whisky-based cocktail need any further celebrity endorsement? Oddly enough, we’re not sure how the Old Fashioned-Manhattan hybrid came to take on the action hero’s name, but we can tell you it’s a drink for someone who doesn’t back down easily, so that may explain it! Either way, this strong and bitter hybrid cocktail blends green Chartreuse and Demerara sugar syrup with the traditional whisky-bitters mix and the result is beautifully balanced. In a mixing glass, combine 2 ounces of a high-proof rye whisky with almost a teaspoon of Angostura bitters, a whole teaspoon of green Chartreuse and a quarter ounce of Demerara syrup. Add ice, stir, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist an orange peel over it to release the oils, before laying the peel in the cocktail itself.
Rising from relative obscurity to capture a spot on our top 5 list of all-time favourite whisky-based cocktails, this tipple has another thing in common with the star who inspired its name. Once you become familiar with Clint Eastwood, there’s no going back!
LET’S END ON A SWEET NOTE WITH IRISH COFFEE
Lady GaGa loves the Irish variety, while Amy Schumer prefers aged Scotch, yet both artistes agree that all good things start with whisky! For us, coffee and cream match whisky on our list of life’s great joys, so it should come as no surprise that a cocktail featuring all three would be one of our absolute favourite things in the world. Originally developed at an airport in Ireland by Joseph Sheridan, Irish Coffee is a deviously simple concoction. Simply pour hot coffee into an Irish coffee glass, leaving only a quarter of the mug empty. Drop in two sugar cubes or an ounce of brown sugar syrup and stir until dissolved. Add whisky and then whipped cream on top. Enjoy in the morning (yes, you can!) or as a treat after dinner. If whisky is liquid sunshine, like George Bernard Shaw aptly opined, then Irish Coffee is warmth on a winter’s day. Can you honestly think of anything more wonderful?
Image Credits: thedailymeal.com (2); The Quarter - Mumbai; foodservice.libbey.eu
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