Ever since I travelled to the Scottish island of Islay — home to the Bowmore, Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries, to name a few — I’ve been a sucker for peated whiskies. So I was super excited to receive a bottle of the new Ardbeg Kelpie, which was recently crowned Whisky of the Year at the 2017 International Whisky Competition in Las Vegas.
As its name implies, Kelpie pays homage to the sea that surrounds Islay. With its seaweed nose and smoky, spicy taste, it’s just the type of whisky you can imagine Euron Greyjoy drinking as he sails his squid-sigiled ships around the waters of Westeros.
I think Euron would like Ardbeg Kelpie.
It’s lovely on its own, but also acts as a commanding accompaniment to a cocktail. I used it to float some smoke on a Pineapple Penicillin, with fantastic results. Do be sure and grill your pineapple before juicing — the tropical campfire flavour compliments the Kelpie and adds a bright mellowness that’s perfect for summer sipping.
This delicious summer sipper floats Ardbeg Kelpie atop spicy rye and grilled pineapple juice.
- 2 oz Alberta Premium Rye
- 1/4 oz Ardbeg Kelpie
- 1 oz grilled pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz honey simple syrup (1:1 honey-to-water ratio)
Method: Grill several pineapple rounds, then juice. Combine all ingredients except Ardbeg Kelpie in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to chill. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Float Ardbeg Kelpie on top and garnish with a skewer of grilled pineapple cubes.
Robbie Burns Day is January 25. I am not Scottish, and you won’t find me partying on Sunday, but I may raise a glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask to Scottish poet and famous ladies’ man Robert Burns. The single malt scotch whisky, aged in smaller “quarter” casks said to provide the spirit 30 percent greater contact with the barrel wood (and thus intensify the maturation process), is full-bodied and smoky, with a subtle sweetness. It’s lovely on its own but as with most spirits, I prefer mine in a cocktail.
Enter the Penicillin. Although its name is medicinal, this cocktail is anything but antiseptic. It is, however, liquid therapy. The roundness of the blended scotch and the sweet, smoky, peaty flavour of the Laphroaig combine with tart lemon and spicy ginger to make a cocktail that Robbie Burns himself might’ve penned an ode to.
A little shot of this and you’ll be ready to party like Robbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son.
- 2 oz blended scotch, Teacher’s (I used Ancient Clan)
- 1/4 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz honey-ginger syrup
- Garnish: candied ginger
Method: Combine ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a rocks glass, preferably one with a large ice cube. Garnish with candied ginger.
— Recipe by mixologist Sam Ross of Milk & Honey, Little Branch, New York, NY