New to Whiskey? We’ve Got Some Suggestions
New to whisky? You’ve got a lot to learn, and plenty of cocktails to explore. Whether you’ve just had your first sip of great American whiskey, or you’re just looking to learn more about the world of whiskey cocktails, Sip Dark is here to help.
Not only do we bring you the very best in whiskey rocks (seriously, have you tried our amazing Soapstone cooling rocks yet?), we also know what makes a great whisky cocktail. So before we introduce you to our four favorite cocktails that we think you need to try, we’re going to explain some of the basics of cocktail making.
The Dos and Don’ts of Cocktail Making
So you’ve got your favorite scotch or bourbon whiskey to hand, and you’re ready to start making cocktails.
Use the good stuff. A good cocktail is only as good as the ingredients you use. Mixing high quality whisky with low quality mixers and other alcohol spoils the taste. Mid-range products work perfectly well, but don’t expect the best results if you’re using the cheapest ingredients you can buy.
Taste as you go. Like a good chef, it can be a good idea to taste your cocktail as you go. This is particularly important if you’re an inexperienced cocktail maker. It also makes it easier to make the cocktail to your own preference. Need more mixer? Add some! More whisky? You know what to do.
Don’t mix more than 5 ingredients. This is a good general rule to stick to, as too many flavors only ruins the intensity and warmth of the whisky.
Don’t mix grain and grape. You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but it’s true! Don’t mix grain and wine-based spirits, like cognac and gin, for instance. It never works.
Meet Our Favorite Classic Cocktails
Now you know some of the basics, we’re excited to introduce you to some of the classic scotch and bourbon whiskey-based cocktails. You’ll probably have heard of many of them, through classic movies and literature – and now’s your chance to experience them yourself!
The most common story told about the origins of the Manhattan cocktail goes as follows. In the Manhattan Club in New York City in the 1870s, the Manhattan was invented by Dr. Iain Marshall for a banquet being hosted by the mother of British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Lady Randolph Churchill hosted the dinner in honor of Samuel J. Tilden, a presidential candidate at the time. However, the story is almost certainly historically inaccurate as Lady Randolph was in Europe at the time.
To make a classic Manhattan, you’ll need:
- Two parts whiskey
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- Red Maraschino cherries
- 2 dashes bitters
- Orange peel
To make the cocktail, take a small handful of ice and add it to your cocktail shaker. Next add two parts whiskey to one part vermouth, and 2 dashes bitters (whether it’s Angostura or otherwise is up to you!). Take the orange peel and rub it around the rim of your cocktail glass (if you don’t already have glasses, take a look at Sip Dark’s great range of whisky glasses), and then strain your cocktail into the glass. Add a couple of cherries and you’re good to go!
The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is another legendary cocktail, and the sweetness balances out the taste of the rye whiskey used to create it. It’s sweet, bitter and smooth, and not difficult to make.
To make an Old Fashioned, you’ll need:
- 5oz. of rye whiskey
- Sugar cube
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 ice cubes
- Orange peel
- 1 tablespoon syrup
Start by combining the bitters, syrup, whiskey and ice cubes and stir thoroughly. To top it off, squeeze a little orange peel into the glass to release oil from the zest, and then leave it in the cocktail as a garnish. The sweetness of the syrup mixes perfectly with the cocktail’s bitterness – and it’s seriously easy to make.
The Hot Toddy
The Hot Toddy is different to most cocktails, in that it’s served hot and in a glass with a handle. If you’re preparing the cocktail at home, it’s not uncommon to simply serve it in a teacup or mug. This is a warming drink that’s perfect for cold weather, or even when you’re ill. It was invented in the mid-1800s and was originally any spirit served hot with water and honey, designed to cure illness.
Today, the Hot Toddy is a rye whiskey cocktail that’s great even when you’re on top of your game!
Here’s what you’ll for a Hot Toddy it:
- 1 clove
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 dash of ground nutmeg
- of rye whiskey
To make this delicious hot cocktail, pour your whiskey and honey into a glass, teacup or mug. Add the nutmeg and clove to the mixture, and then pour in boiling water from your kettle. Stir thoroughly, and then finish the cocktail with a slice of lemon, either resting on the rim of the glass or just floating in the cocktail. Enjoy!
The Whiskey Sour
Finally, there’s the whiskey sour. A legendary whiskey cocktail that makes use of raw egg white, this is not necessarily the easiest to make. If you’re willing to accept a challenge, however, then you might just be able to pull this off.
Here’s what you’ll need for a Whiskey Sour:
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon of syrup
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- of rye whiskey
- 3 ice cubes
- 1 slice of orange
Start by putting all the ice and ingredients in a shaker. You should ensure that your shaker is chilled. If the ice and shaker does not sufficiently chill the cocktail, then the egg white will not froth as much as you need it to.
Once in the cocktail shaker, shake for around 20 seconds. Then strain the cocktail into a glass, and top it with a slice of orange. You’re done!
Start Your Whiskey Journey Right
For those who are new to whiskey, it’s important you have all the right equipment. Whether it’s a high quality whiskey glass, or your very own engraved, custom whiskey spheres, Sip Dark has something for you.
So get experimenting, and enjoy these classic whiskey cocktails!