MODERN WHISKY WINNERS WITH JOE SCHOFIELD
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.
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.
- 50ml Johnnie Walker Gold Label
- 10ml Asterley Bros. Estate Sweet Vermouth
- 10ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry
- 3 Dashes Orange bitters
- Stir all ingredients in mixing glass to dilute.
- Strain into small coupette.
- Garnish with orange coin, no ice.
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.
- 30ml Coconut-infused Johnnie Walker Black Label
- 100ml Cold brew coffee
- 10ml Honey syrup
- Build ingredients in a highball over ice
- Stir to mix
- Garnish with a long orange twist.
COCONUT-INFUSED JOHNNIE WALKER BLACK LABEL
- 700ml Johnnie Walker Black Label and 50g Desiccated coconut chips.
- Infuse at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
- Strain away coconut using superbag bag or muslin cloth.
- Honey and warm water (3:1).
- Dissolve honey into water and store.
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!
- 50ml Buttered Scotch (Johnnie Walker Gold Label)
- 10ml Butterscotch
- 3 Dashes chocolate bitters
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
- Stir to dilute
- Strain into a rocks glass over ice
- 700ml Johnnie Walker Gold + 100g Unsalted Butter
- Cook ingredients Sous Vide for 90 min at 56 C
- Add ingredients into a container and freeze until butter has solidified (fatwash)
- Remove butter with a super bag and store Buttered Scotch.
Be very careful preparing this recipe.
- Heat 1kg brown sugar, 2g salt, 100g water to 170C in a large saucepan with high sides.
- Keep brushing the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush and try not to move or stir the main part of the liquid.
- Once ready, let cool to 90 C then add 600g of hot water.
- Stir to dissolve any residual sugar.
- 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.
- Using ingredients from your own backyard can surprise and inspire – like a UK sourced sweet vermouth.
- Look around the globe for inspiration – coconut and whisky is a popular flavour combo in Asia.
- 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.
- Look to the kitchen for best practices – getting the bar and kitchen closer together can lead to easy, and often unexpected, wins.
STRETCHING OUT THE CLASSICS
How do you take an existing recipe and applies its flavours or ingredients to a new format?
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