Let me introduce you to the Penicillin cocktail, if you don't already know about it. The drink was created by bartender Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York in 2005. The name is kind of fun and refers to the calming, healing qualities of its special ingredient – a ginger-infused honey simple syrup.
This drink is a twist on the classic whisky sour, with honey, ginger, and a bit of smoky Islay scotch on top. It's perfect for winter – it gives you that cozy feeling without the actual warmth. You can add a garnish like candied ginger or just a simple twist of lemon peel.
- Honey ginger syrup: Honey simple syrup infused with fresh ginger is a signature ingredient, and what gives the drink its "healing" qualities. See below for some other ways to use it.
- Lemon: Another signature ingredient, fresh lemon juice lends a bright, tart flavor to the drink.
- Blended Scotch whisky.
Blended Scotch whisky is a harmonious fusion of single malt and grain whiskies from various distilleries. Crafted by expert blenders, these whiskies offer a balanced and approachable flavor profile, often featuring notes of malt, fruit, and gentle smokiness. Blended Scotch is versatile, making it a popular choice for both sipping and mixing. But there's no need to break the bank on a bottle; look for options in the $20 to $30 range.
- Islay single malt Scotch. Islay single malt Scotch is renowned for its distinctive and robust flavor profile. Produced on the Isle of Islay in Scotland, these whiskies are characterized by peaty, smoky, and maritime notes. Each distillery on the island contributes to the rich tapestry of Islay malts, making them prized among whisky enthusiasts for their bold complexity. A little bit of the Scotch added at the end gives the drink a lot of its smoky flavor.
Honey Ginger Simple Syrup
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger
- ½ cup honey
- ¾ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- 2 oz blended Scotch whiskey
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz honey-ginger syrup
- ¼ oz Islay single malt Scotch,
- Lemon twist, for garnish
Make the syrup
- Cut the piece ginger into 3 slices (no need to peel), and place in a small saucepan. Add the honey, water, and a pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until honey is melted.
- Remove the pan from the hear and let cool until warm. Transfer to container, cover and refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight. Remove and discard the ginger before using.
Make the cocktail
- Combine the Scotch whiskey, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to fill the shaker about half full. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Fill a rocks or old-fashioned glass with ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with ¼ ounce Islay single malt Scotch. Garnish with the lemon peel.
5 Penicillin Cocktail Variations
- The Tropical Remedy:
- Swap the Islay scotch with a peaty, tropical-flavored rum.
- Replace the ginger-infused honey syrup with a pineapple-infused honey syrup.
- Garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple or a twist of lime peel.
- The Berry Booster:
- Use a fruity bourbon or berry-infused whiskey instead of the scotch.
- Create a mixed berry honey syrup by infusing honey with raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
- Garnish with a skewer of assorted berries or a twist of orange peel.
- Spiced Citrus Elixir:
- Choose a spiced rum or cinnamon-infused whiskey for a warm twist.
- Swap the ginger-infused honey syrup for a cinnamon and clove-infused honey syrup.
- Garnish with an orange twist and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
- Herbal Infusion:
- Opt for a botanical gin in place of the scotch for a refreshing herbal profile.
- Infuse the honey with chamomile or lavender for added floral notes.
- Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or a twist of grapefruit peel.
- Smoky Maple Soother:
- Substitute the scotch with a smoky mezcal for a unique twist.
- Use maple syrup instead of honey, adding a rich, earthy sweetness.
- Garnish with a smoky cinnamon stick or a twist of lemon peel for balance.
Leftover syrup will keep for several weeks. Use the infused syrup to sweeten a cup of herbal tea; Stir a few teaspoons into a lemon vinaigrette;
Brush leftover honey ginger syrup over fresh cakes.
Candied ginger is a delightful treat made by preserving ginger root in a sugar syrup. The result is chewy, sweet, and slightly spicy morsels with a zesty kick. Used in both sweet and savory dishes, candied ginger adds a burst of flavor to baked goods, desserts, and even certain Asian cuisines