Sometimes you just want the taste of breakfast in your cocktail: cinnamon, vanilla, OJ, a squeeze of lemon, and the smoky essence of the griddle. I got to thinking about the amazing oatmeal I ate for breakfast on Islay — giant bowls of creamy cinnamon goodness that the innkeeper offered to fortify with a tot of whisky — and decided to deconstruct it into a cocktail. I took the island’s smoky whisky (Laphroaig) and combined it with spicy rye, citrus, cinnamon and vanilla. (If you wanted it a bit frothy, you could shake in an egg white.) It’s pretty delicious, but I wouldn’t necessarily drink it before noon!
Penicillin (the cocktail) had a rendezvous with orange liqueur and the spice rack and created Cinnamon Smoke.
- 1.25 oz Sonoma County Rye
- 0.25 oz Laphroaig 15
- 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 oz cinnamon-vanilla simple syrup*
- Garnish: cinnamon stick
Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 vanilla bean
Method: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon and vanilla bean and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let cool. Remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and store the syrup in the fridge.
Smoking drinks is a big thing right now. First bartenders were mixing peated scotch or smoky mezcal into cocktails for that campfire flavour; now they are adding actual smoke with a machine that lights flavoured wood such as cedar chips afire, then pumps the smoke into a glass dome (under which the cocktail is situated) through a hose. It’s like bell jars have been waiting decades to make a comeback, and now enterprising bartenders are facilitating their wish. It makes for an entertaining performance at the bar.
The Guild bartender Austin Purvis reveals his Burnt Cherry Manhattan after a round of smoking.
I first saw David Bain do this neat trick with a rum drink during a Mount Gay competition a couple years ago. More recently, I’ve watched Franz Swinton smoke his Good Morning Vietnam at Raw Bar, and Austin Purvis smolder his Burnt Cherry Manhattan at The Guild.
The taste of smoky fruit is awesome in this spicy, slightly bitter Manhattan (I’m a big fan of the Sonoma Country rye), but quite frankly, while it’s fun to watch a bartender imbue a drink with a smoky bouquet, it seems like a lot of work and equipment. Where does one even purchase a bell jar? Or a smoking machine? I wouldn’t necessarily try it at home. And evidently, you can buy a smoky spray to spritz on your cocktail. That sounds like a safer bet!
A Burnt Cherry Manhattan from The Guild.
Burnt Cherry Manhattan
- 1 blackened cherry
- Orange rind cheek
- 2 oz Sonoma County Distilling cask strength rye whiskey
- 0.25 oz Amaro Averna
- 0.25 oz Chambord
- Splash blackberry pok pok (drinking vinegar)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Squeeze fresh orange
- 1 dash Bitter Truth bitters
- Garnish: Bourbon cherry
Method: In a mixing glass, muddle the blackened cherry and orange rind with the rye whiskey. Add the remaining ingredients, plus ice, and stir until well chilled. Fine strain into a rocks glass over two fresh ice cubes. Smoke the glass under a bell jar to infuse a smoky flavour. Garnish with a skewered bourbon cherry.
— Recipe courtesy Austin Purvis, The Guild