Whisky 101 & A Summer Whisky Cocktail

My trip to Scotland has definitely inspired me to learn a bit more about whisky, although, to be honest, this is all the information I absorbed! You definitely do not need to be an expert to visit a whisky distillery and enjoy it, I am most certainly not and I think it is a great experience. Besides, if you are not sold, their shop are generally a great place for souvenirs and Christmas presents!

The entrance at the Deanston whisky distillery in Perthshire, Scotland
Deanston distillery in Scotland

It also reminded me of the most amazing summer whisky cocktail I ever had at the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. For Danny’s 30th birthday I hunted down the recipe and it is now our go to celebratory drink when the occasion calls. For those who fancy a bit of Vegas in their own home or want a more unusual whisky cocktail, the recipe is below.

Types of Whisky

Malt whisky is made from malted barley only. Grain whisky is made from grains, generally wheat or corn. Grain whisky is cheaper to produce than malt whisky and is not regarded to be such high quality, so is generally (but not always) used in blends.

Single Cask Whisky: Whisky from just one cask.

Single Malt Whisky: A mix of malt casks produced in one distillery.

Blended Malt Whisky: A blend of at least two single malt whiskies from more than one distillery.

Single Grain Whisky: A mix of casks that are made from malted barley and at least one other grain. Again, all casks must come from one single distillery.

Blended Grain Whisky: A blend of at least two single grain whiskies from more than one distillery.

Blended Scotch Whisky: Blended whisky is the most sold Scotch whisky. A blended scotch whisky is a combination of at least one malt cask and one grain cask.

Whisky Ages

Scotch whisky must be matured for a minimum of 3 years on Scottish ground for it to be classed as such. Whisky generally has an age statement on the front which will refer to the youngest whisky in the bottle. You can also get no age statement (NAS) whisky.

A Summer Whisky Cocktail from the Chandelier Bar in Las Vegas

The most common whisky cocktail is an Old Fashioned (which we are both fairly partial to), however the best ever whisky cocktail I ever had was at the Chandelier Bar in the the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. I’m pretty sure the décor also contributed to the experience; the location of the bar is inside a massive chandelier and as you may have picked up on in previous posts, I love nothing more than a chandelier! The bar is set over three levels and is just an amazingly glittery experience, if you are ever in Vegas, I recommend you visit.

A summer whisky cocktail at the Chandelier Bar in the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas
The Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas

The chandelier is not the only amazing thing about this bar though, the bartenders are top notch. Every cocktail we had was excellent, but whisky based Libertine was our favourite. I made it my mission to recreate for Danny’s 30th birthday last year and managed to track down the recipe. Although not quite the glamourous experience we had inside the Chandelier Bar, it is still our favourite cocktail and we reminisced about a great trip while sipping Libertines throughout the evening.

Now it wouldn’t be fair to bang on about how great it is without sharing the recipe, so here it is, courtesy of the Chandelier Bar itself. It is a little faffy, however it isn’t your average cocktail. If you’re a but nervy about the egg whites (it’s a bit of a weird thought), you don’t have to include them, but it does change the consistency of the drink. If you do include them, I can promise you do not taste anything remotely egg like in your drink!

A Summer Whisky Cocktail Recipe

Seves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp of simple syrup (sometimes referred to as gomme). You can also make your own at home)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Ice cubes
  • 120ml whisky (you don’t need anything special, bog standard is fine)
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade (bonus points for a whisky marmalade!)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 egg white

Equipment

You ideally need a cocktail shaker for this, however if you like having cocktails at home, a full cocktail equipment kit is the way to go.

Method

  1. Boil the simple syrup and rosemary in a small saucepan
  2. Add the syrup mixture to the shaker along with the ice, whisky, marmalade and lemon juice
  3. Shake, shake, shake! When you’re confident you have sealed the shaker and nothing is going to go flying out all over the kitchen, give it all you’ve got to disperse the marmalade
  4. Pour into your chosen glasses with more ice
  5. Now add the remaining ingredients into the shaker and shake until frothy
  6. Add to the glasses with a sprig of rosemary garnish

Best enjoyed under a sparkly chandelier!

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