This is obviously not a cocktail recipe I’ve created but as such a staple whisky cocktail I felt I had to get around to making one at some point. First things first, a quick look at the history of this iconic cocktail:
“The first documented definition of the word “cocktail” was in response to a reader’s letter asking to define the word in the May 6, 1806, issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson, New York. In the May 13, 1806, issue, the paper’s editor wrote that it was a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar; it was also referred to at the time as a bittered sling. J.E. Alexander describes the cocktail similarly in 1833, as he encountered it in New York City, as being rum, gin, or brandy, significant water, bitters, and sugar, though he includes a nutmeg garnish as well.“
Traditionally this cocktail would contain Rye or Bourbon, however my whisky collection is currently severely lacking in both departments. As such I substituted this with Nikka Whisky From The Barrel – my tasting notes for which can be found here. I felt that a sweet whisky such as this would do as a fair substitute (and it certainly did). There are a wide range of variations on this recipe so I don’t feel any guilt with changing mine to suit my drinks cabinet. In the same vein I chose to use Sugar Syrup instead of sugar and water and having to faff around with muddling the sugar – I wanted to get to enjoy my drink as soon as possible!
Ice (plenty of)
1 1/2 tsp Sugar Syrup
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
A good sized dram of whisk(e)y – I went for 50ml of Nikka Whisky From The Barrel
*Quantities are rough measurements and can be adjusted to taste.
Fill a tumbler glass with ice.
Pour sugar syrup and bitters over ice.
Enjoy (in moderation… or not), preferably in front of an open fire…