Drink of the Week: The Smokey Scotsman

the Smokey ScotsmanAnyone here remember the gag from “Risky Business” when a teenage, home alone Tom Cruise destroys his dad’s expensive Chivas Regal by polluting it with Coke? The idea of mixing a really good single malt Scotch with anything other than a smidgen of water no doubt strikes many today as nothing short of sacrilege. Indeed, classic cocktail heads will note that, like Irish whiskey, only a very select few cocktails call for Scotch. In cocktail land, the North American whiskeys tend to dominate.

Nevertheless, we are noting a contrary trend here at DOTW central. Manufacturers of single malts — presumably even more resistant to promiscuous mixing than a blend like Chivas — are letting their guard down and openly promulgating cocktail recipes via such highly praiseworthy PR strategies as sending me a free bottle of very good Scotch alongside an intriguing and surprisingly good recipe.

Lacking any added sweetness, the Smokey Scotsman is not a recipe for everyone, but what is? It certainly has its Calvinist charms to go with the very sturdy product that is the Macallan 10 Year-Old, which I’ve enjoyed imbibing in several different forms over the last couple of weeks. I had some issues understanding the recipe at first, but now that I do, I’m ready to declare this cocktail to be of the elect. (Yes, this is your comparative religions edition of DOTW.) It helps to really like Scotch and sage, though.

The Smokey Scotsman

2 ounces Scotch whisky (very preferably The Macallan 10 year-old single malt, of course)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3-5 sage leaves

Pour Scotch over sage leaves and muddle the leaves into the booze and lemon juice. Add ice, shake like crazy and pour — do not strain, unless you like your drinks as severe as the most hellfire and brimstone Scottish preacher — into an old fashioned glass, preferably chilled.


Since this is, as far as I can tell, a rather new beverage, I don’t know of many alternative versions. I did try this myself adding a teaspoon of sugar to the mix. The result was less forbidding but also less interesting


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