Single malt Scotch aficionados will caution against messing with a good thing -- although the combination of single malt Scotch and dry vermouth isn't necessarily a bad one. Scotch whisky goes through a rigorous process to become a single malt; it's aged for at least eight years in oak casks in Scotland. Dry vermouth's hints of herbs and spices can both elicit and temper single malt scotch's smokiness in a few notable cocktails.
Dry Rob Roy
The dry Rob Roy is a play on the conventional Rob Roy, which itself is just a variation of the straight up whiskey Manhattan. Whereas the typical Rob Roy contains sweet vermouth, the dry Rob Roy calls for dry vermouth instead. Pour 2 parts single malt Scotch and 1 part dry vermouth into a shaker tin with ice and stir. Strain the contents into a martini glass and garnish with a cherry or lemon twist. If martinis aren't your thing, then just drink it on the rocks.
Smoke and Flowers
The cocktail dubbed smoke and flowers isn't a bit of false advertising -- it actually does taste like smoke and flowers. The drink's smokiness comes from the single malt Scotch and its floral flavor comes from elderberry liqueur. In addition to Scotch, dry vermouth and elderberry liqueur, the smoke and flowers also contains dry sherry. Pour 3 parts each Scotch, sherry and elderberry liqueur and 4 parts dry vermouth into a shaker tin filled with ice, and add a splash of lemon juice. Stir and strain into a martini glass with a lemon twist.
The affinity cocktail, typically made with blended Scotch whisky -- which is a blend of different whiskies, will benefit from a subtle single malt. The affinity cocktail is also a simple drink and has only three ingredients: single malt Scotch, dry vermouth and Byhrr, a French aperitif made with red wine, quinine and mistelle. Pour equal parts of all three liquors into a shaker tin with ice and stir. Strain the drink into a martini glass and serve with a cherry.
The Scotch bonnet has something other than a bee in it -- it's got a little heat from tabasco. This cocktail is another martini, but one better enjoyed during cooler weather given its spiciness. In addition to single malt Scotch, dry vermouth and tabasco, the Scotch bonnet carries a little flavor due to Aperol, an Italian aperitif with hints of orange and rhubarb. Pour 5 parts Scotch, 1 part each of dry vermouth and Aperol and a few dashes of tabasco sauce into an ice-filled shaker tin. Stir and strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange twist.
- Doc Watson's: Scotch Drinks Page
- Complete World Bartender Guide: The Standard Reference to More than 2,400 Drinks; Bob Sennett
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