Sounds totally bonkers right? Why on earth would you mix two such distinctive spirits? Although classic cocktail convention generally advises using one base spirit, the cocktail renaissance has seen bartenders push the boundaries and take traditional recipes into new directions. Whiskey and Cava? Check. Rum and Scotch? Check. Gin and Sherry? Check. The answer seems to lie simply in: experimentation. Take a classic, mix it up, if works – fantastic. If it doesn’t – well, God loves a trier.
Rum, Scotch and Wine
Laura Creasy, who runs a bar in the States, says there is no spirit combination that doesn’t work and one of her creations mixes aged rum, scotch, honey, lime and sparkling wine. According to Creasy it works because it pairs spirits aged in barrels.
Gin and Whiskey
One of bartender, Conor Myers, favourite spirit clashes is a Gin Martini with a dash of whiskey – “I love my gin martinis; what makes them even better is a top quality dry vermouth, some proper olives, lemon zest, and a nice rinse of Islay Whisky, or to stay local some Connemara!”
Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey 🇮🇪🥃🌳 Though drying malted barley with smoke from burning peat is common for Scotches, Connemara is the only peated Irish whiskey. It is also double-distilled like a scotch! Lightly honey sweet, with wafts of peat smoke and spicy oak. Overall, a splendid sipping experience.
Scotch and Absinthe
If you’re feeling particularly devilish, what about bourbon with a dash of absinthe? For this, you need to check yourself into Peruke and Perwig and order yourself a “Harry Houdini” – Woodford Reserve, Remy Martini V.S.O.P, Peychaud’s Bitters, seasonal honey, smoke & an absinthe rinse.
Poitin and Moonshine
What about Poitin? Poitin and…Moonshine? Yes, it’s a thing. The Blind Pig has an absolute cracker called “Sweet Jebus” – Ban Poitin, Grappa, Georgia Moonshine, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, Blind Pig orange bitters. You might want to have a taxi booked home for this one.
If you’re really into cocktail discover and the science behind mixing spirits and flavours, you need to check into a tour in the Irish Whiskey Museum. Not only do you get to taste four different Irish whiskeys, but you get to blend your own – perfect opportunity to understand how to push the boundaries of spirit pairings.
So set aside a weekend to practice with your drinks cabinet…or better yet, head into a cocktail-making class and let the professionals talk you through it.