Bitter Sweet (& Sour) Symphony

I know, I know, “Whisky Cocktails” – the bane of the whisky purists life. I get why people are so reluctant to put whisky in a cocktail, or to add a mixer or even ice. Creating a good whisky is an art form which takes not only years to age but also an expert with countless years of experience to create the perfect whisky before it’s bottled. Whisky is meant to be enjoyed as it is, that’s the whole point of putting all of this work into it. But to those whisky purists who bridle at the idea of drinking whisky any way other than neat (or maybe with a small drop of water) I would say this: get over yourselves!

Yes I generally prefer whisky neat, I enjoy exploring all it’s complexities which once mixed with something else you may not be able to pick up on. But sometimes a neat glass of whisky just isn’t able to quench my thirst. Also to many a neat whisky just isn’t appealing. Surely it’s better that people drink whisky however they like and help to keep the whisky industry booming rather than drinking something else for fear of offending a connoisseur?

I love cocktails and I have four cocktail shakers and a portable cocktail bar to prove it! So from now on when I try a whisky that I think could work well in a cocktail I will try my damnedest to create a suitable cocktail to put it in. My aim is to complement the palate of the whisky, not to obscure it.

I’m going to kick things off with a “Bitter Sweet (& Sour) Symphony”.


I’m starting off with Glen Moray Classic Single Malt – my tasting notes for which can be found here.

The main thing that came through for me while tasting Glen Moray was citrus, more specifically lemon. I wanted to complement this, even enhance it.

I start off with 2 good measures of Glen Moray Classic – I want this to shine through, not be overridden by other flavours. Then a small measure of fresh lemon juice (I’m sure bottled stuff would do just fine but as life had given me fresh lemons…). I topped this up with tonic water and gave it a try – far too tart which was overriding everything else. I added a small scoop of powdered sugar and mixed well. This did the trick, the sugar tempered the tartness of the lemon and let the whisky come through with it. I added whisky stones (ice would do but I wanted to try these out) and a twist of lemon to garnish.


70ml Glen Moray Classic.

20ml Lemon Juice.

1/2 Teaspoon Powdered Sugar.

100ml Tonic Water.


Lemon Twist to Garnish.

*Quantities are rough measurements and can be adjusted to taste.


Mix whisky, lemon juice and sugar and stir well.

Pour over ice and top up with tonic water.

Add lemon twist to garnish.

Enjoy (in moderation).

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