Until recently I thought that cocktails were created in the dim and distant past by bartenders called Harry or were the preserve of Heston Blummenthal-types with degrees in Mixology from Dalston Polytechnic. Now I realise that making cocktails is just like cooking. You can go off-piste. You’re probably never going to invent anything as remarkable as a negroni but you might come up with something delicious that you’ve never tried before. The trick is balance between sweet and sour and beware flavours that might clash. I’ve found Richard Godwin’s book, The Spirits, an incredibly helpful guide. He not only gives you fish but gives you a fishing rod so you can catch your own fish. Delicious boozy fish.
Here’s one I ‘invented’ as part of a Christmas lunch that the Guardian are putting on next month.
It is a cross between that old winter stalwart, the whisky mac (a mixture of whisky and ginger wine), and something a bit more tropical, the dark and stormy, (rum, ginger ale and lime). I’ve used Irish whiskey (note extra e) because it’s normally a little sweeter than Scotch. Bourbon might work too. I tried it initially with my own patent-blended whisky (Black Grouse topped up with some malt miniatures and a bit of Cutty Sark) but the smokiness didn’t work. The bitters at the end make it taste a bit exotic. It’s a delightfully warming drink for the winter and would I think double as a particularly delicious cold cure. You can make it weaker if you like or remove the fizzy water entirely to make it really sweet.
(makes one drink)
35ml (one shot) King’s Ginger liqueur
35ml Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
35ml Jamaica Ginger Beer – if you’re using Fentimen’s omit the water and use double the amount.
35ml fizzy water
17.5ml (half a shot) fresh lemon juice
Dash of angostura bitters
Lemon slice to garnish
Fill a tumbler with lots of ice, add the ginger liqueur, whiskey, ginger beer, lemon juice and water, stir thoroughly. Add a dash of Angostura bitters and garnish with a slice of lemon.
All it needs now is a name. I was going to call it the Prince Harry because of the high ginger quotient but it seems that name is already taken.
Any ideas please let me know.
@Hurtlepuss suggested the Joan Holloway after the redhead from Mad Men. Perfect.