Looking at the annual food and beverage calendar, there are many opportunities to celebrate whisky throughout the year. International Whisky Day, World, Whisky Day, Irish Whisky Day, Bourbon Day, Scotch Whisky Day, Ardbeg Day and yes, there is even a German Whisky Day.
Of all the different days celebrating whisky, International Whisky Day celebrated annually on the 27th of March is likely the least specific. By which I mean, no need to select a whisky from a specific country or region. Thus, you can mix up lots of different whisky cocktails using your favourite whisky or use the occasion to try a couple of new ones.
If you are new to mixing with whisky, below I have listed five classic cocktails based on whisky.
These are prepared in just a couple of minutes and they all require only few ingredients. Possibly the best of all, you can make these five classic whisky cocktails using the same ingredients. All you need to make a different cocktail is simply swapping one for the other, leave one out or add an additional one.
Five classic whisky cocktails
The first known written recipe for a Whisky Sour goes back to 1862, when it was included in The Bartenders Guide by Jerry Thomas. That said ‘Sours’ had been very popular drinks on ships for many decades prior to that data, albeit these were made with any liquor.
The drink was initially made with only three ingredients, whisky, lemon juice and simple syrup. However, over time it evolved, and egg white was added to give it a frosty appearance.
60 ml whisky
45 ml fresh lemon juice
45 ml simple syrup
½ egg white
A small orange slice
Pour bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add the egg white and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds.
Strain the cocktail into a whisky glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.
The Old Fashioned cocktail is perhaps one of the longest cocktails around.
Apparently, the drink was initially created to be mixed with gin (according to an old recipe Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide) but later on whisky would be used.
60 ml whisky
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 sugar cube
Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Drizzle it with some splashes of Angostura Bitters and a small splash of club soda.
Crush the sugar with a muddler, then rotate the glass to make the sugar grain. Add ice and pour in the whiskey.
Garnish with an orange twist.
Mentioned first in 1969, although the drink is likely older. In fact, it is believed the cocktail was invented by the headwaiter of the same name at Limmer’s Old House in Conduit Street in Mayfair, which was a popular London hotel and coffee house around 1790–1817.
45 ml whisky
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml simple syrup
60 ml club soda
A small orange slice
Add whisky, lemon juice, and syrup into a glass filled with ice cubes. Stir and top up with club soda.
Garnish with a small orange slice.
The drink is though to have it origins in the American South and is in particular associated with the Kentucky Derby where it used to be served in gold-plated cups with silver straws, originally made from Woodford Reserve bourbon, and mint imported from Ireland, spring water ice cubes from the Bavarian Alps, and sugar from Australia. The proceeds were used to support charitable causes dedicated to retired racehorses. As you can imagine, it was a rather expensive drink at the Derby.
4 to 5 fresh mint leaves
2 sugar cubes
75 ml whiskey
Some mint leaves for garnishing
In a glass, add mint leaves and sugar and muddle well.
Add whisky and fill the glass with crushed ice to the top.
Garnish with some fresh mint leaves.
The highball is one of the most classic and quite basic drinks that call for a base spirit (which can be whisky, gin, vodka or rum just as you like it best) to be topped up by a generous amount of a non-alcoholic mixer.
It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer day, so definitely save it for later in the year.
60 ml whiskey
120 ml ginger ale (alternatively club soda).
Add ice to a highball glass, then pour in the whisky and top up with ginger ale.
Garnish with a slice of orange (optional).
Do you have a favourite whisky cocktail?