Good quality scotch is a staple of every respectable liquor cabinet and the favorite alcoholic beverage of Sir Winston Churchill. For more than 500 years, everybody served scotch plain or neat, with no additional flavors to cover the taste. Today, hosts often serve scotch plain, but then blend it with other liquors or mix it with non-alcoholic ingredients to create a variety of tastes.
Lemon juice is a major part of many well-known mixed drinks based on scotch. For example, scotch Tom Collins, scotch Rickey, derby fizz, and scotch sour are all made with some combination of lemon juice and scotch, along with other ingredients. Orange juice is key to the highland special and lime juice is the second most important ingredient in the aptly named scotch and lime.
Scotch and soda is perhaps the most common combination based on the ancient Scottish liquor. The soda in this case may be cola, lemon-lime or other sweetened and carbonated beverages. Due to the strong flavor of sodas, the quality of the scotch in the drink loses some of its importance. Like rum and cola or brandy and cola, scotch and cola is served cold, with the accent on the cola.
Hot Water or Tea
Hot toddies are warming alcoholic beverages enjoyed on cold winter evenings. A scotch hot toddy combines the soothing sweetness of a tablespoon of honey, with the juice of half a lemon added to the scotch. The entire mixture is made warm and less potent by the addition of as much hot water or brewed tea as you prefer. Sometimes, hosts substitute sugar for honey in the Scottish version of the drink.
Scotch mixes are not always simple or basic. Sometimes, they can be quite sophisticated and complex in their makeup and layers of taste. Kristin Almy, the bartender at San Francisco's Grand Cafe mixes grilled tangerines, strawberries, tequila, black pepper, strawberry jam and club soda with a smoky scotch to create The Right Bank. Another smoky scotch blend adds artichoke and walnut liquor and some kosher salt to create a bitter cocktail called the Oakenshield, which originated at The Bachelor Farmer & Marvel Bar in Minnesota. While these drinks may not be something you can whip up on the spot, they highlight what can result when you mix scotch with ingenuity.
- University of Edinburgh: Section 11: Popular Drinks made with Scotch Whisky
- Webtender: Scotch
- The New York Times: After 500 Years, Scotch Finally Decides It Can Mix
- Esquire Magazine: Scotch & Lime
- Whisky: A Brief History of Scotch Whisky
- Saveur Magazine: Scotch Hot Toddy
- Bon Appetit Magazine: The Right Bank
- Bon Appetit Magazine: The Oakenshield
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