From the smoky Penicillin to the juicy Blood & Sand, here are some great recipes for whiskey and Scotch-based cocktails to try at home.
If you took a class called Cocktails 101 (something that probably exists at one or more liberal arts colleges), you’d probably learn how to make a Whiskey Sour. But a Penicillin is a little more advanced. It’s a smoky, complex beverage that you’d learn during your junior year at Cocktail School, and if you ever order one in a bar, your bartender will probably assume that you’re some kind of cocktail nerd. That’s a good thing. Probably.
How It Tastes: Smoky, Rich, Spicy
The Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour needs a PR person. But until it actually gets one, we’ll take the job. Sour mix - unless made from scratch - is not good. Do not buy sour mix. Make your Whiskey Sour with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, and you’ll have a world-class beverage that’ll bring you more joy than at least two or three of your current friendships.
How It Tastes: Tart, Juicy, Refreshing
Drink If You Like: Paper Plane, Whiskey Ginger
The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is incredibly simple to make, and you probably have some of the ingredients around your house already.
How It Tastes: Strong, Clean, Slightly Sweet
With a name like Manhattan, this better be a good cocktail. The thing is, it isn’t. It’s a great one. Learn how to make one, and one day you can offer your dinner guests or the person fixing your wifi router a casual, elegant Manhattan.
How It Tastes: Strong, Rich, Pretty Much Like Whiskey
Drink If You Like: Old Fashioned, Rob Roy
When you’re starting out as a bartender, the Sazerac is one of the first things you learn to make. Why? Because it’s a certified classic. Sure, it’s also kind of an obscure drink nowadays and people rarely order them - but it’s not like a lawyer can just turn to a judge and say, “I’m sorry your honor, that law’s too obscure, and I didn’t bother to learn it.” Seeing as how you probably aren’t a professional bartender, here’s another reason to make Sazerac: it’s a delicious drink.
How It Tastes: Strong & Complex
The Old Pal
The Old Pal is engineered to be less sweet, but not in a tacky, worse sort of way (Skinny Margarita, we’re looking at you). So this one goes out to all you readers who like pleasantly tart drinks you can chug like a Gatorade after soccer practice.
How It Tastes: Tart, Bitter, Chuggable
Drink If You Like: Boulevardier, Whiskey Soda
The Blood & Sand
This drink is an oldie, dating all the way back to the early 20th Century, when it was allegedly invented for the premiere of a silent film called Blood & Sand. According to Wikipedia, that film had “sadomasochistic overtones,” but this juicy, elegant cocktail does not. Probably. It really depends on how you drink it.
How It Tastes: Smoky, Juicy, Strong
Drink If You Like: Rob Roy, Whiskey Sour