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MODERN WHISKY WINNERS WITH JOE SCHOFIELD

GLOBAL PALETTE

Whisky is on the rise. Across different parts of the world, I see more and more whisky cocktails being served in bars.

It can be quite easy to pass on whisky cocktails, with many believing that whisky should be served neat, to best appreciate the beautiful nuances of flavour.

I, on the other hand, love to use whisky in my drinks. I tend to lean towards blends as the flavours are balanced and versatile to play with other ingredients. Here, I’m showcasing three different styles of whisky cocktails that draw on some trends I’m fortunate enough to have encountered on my travels.

WILLIAM WALLACE

I’ve always loved classic Scotch cocktails, like the Rob Roy and Bobby Burns. For my ‘signature’ drink, which I’m honoured to have on menus around the world, I wanted to pay homage to another Scottish hero with an alliterate name: William Wallace.

This drink shares a similar complexion to the two Scotch classics previously mentioned, but with the addition of the sherry and orange bitters. I love the marriage of flavours between the two, with wonderfully rich raisin notes from the PX coaxing an elegant citric finish from the bitters.

A major trend across all categories is bartenders looking to their own back garden for inspiration and ingredients. In this one, I’ve included Asterley Bros. Estate Vermouth, made entirely from British grown Pinot Noir grapes, for a hyper-local element. The Johnnie Walker Gold Label plays nicely with this, bringing a strong backbone of creamy vanilla and wood notes to the party.

RECIPE

METHOD

COCOCABANA

Anything that involves a duet between coconut and coffee gets me excited. I think it’s a wonderful combo that draws the best flavours from each component; quite earthy, but creamy with a touch of bitterness.

In this one, I’ve drawn on the marriage of coconut and Scotch that’s so popular across South East Asia. This entices big vanilla and caramel characters from Johnnie Walker Black Label, with the honey added to ease proceedings along with a touch of sweetness.

The Scotch highball is best celebrated and championed out East, so I wanted to try an elevated take on that, with the inclusion of cold brew coffee to anchor the flavours with an earthy base.

As a reflection on growing trends, this highball is lower ABV than typical serves and uses a much healthier option of a sweetener than regular sugar.

RECIPE

METHOD

COCONUT-INFUSED JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK LABEL

HONEY SYRUP

BUTTERSCOTCH

There’s always been a synergy between the kitchen and the bar, but these days, I find that’s accelerating at a serious pace. Bartenders aligning themselves to how chefs work can take many forms, but it usually involves ingredients and chef-inspired techniques, like the fatwashing process I used in this cocktail.

There’s a lot to be learnt from the kitchen. Culinary practices are generally more developed than those in cocktail cultures, and it’s particularly useful to adopt certain philosophies and practices from the kitchen if you’re trying to make your bar more sustainable.

We fatwash the butter into the whisky, really digging into the buttery, golden vanilla and caramel notes of Johnnie Walker Gold Label. The chocolate bitters add depth and complexity, adding a layer of sharper decadence to counterpoint the heavy butterscotch. Think of it as a Butterscotch Old Fashioned, with the play on words an added bonus!

RECIPE

METHOD

No garnish.

BUTTERED SCOTCH

BUTTERSCOTCH

Be very careful preparing this recipe.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Scotch cocktails are traditionally big and bold, especially if using Single Malts. For contemporary palettes, Scotch blends provide balanced and adaptable flavour profiles that work well with other components in cocktails.
  2. Using ingredients from your own backyard can surprise and inspire – like a UK sourced sweet vermouth.
  3. Look around the globe for inspiration – coconut and whisky is a popular flavour combo in Asia.
  4. Respond to what customers want – more mindful consumption calls for less sugars and processed ingredients. This is easily achieved by using alternative sweeteners, like honey.
  5. Look to the kitchen for best practices – getting the bar and kitchen closer together can lead to easy, and often unexpected, wins.

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