Here is a recipe for a Penicillin cocktail:
- 2 oz blended Scotch whisky (such as Johnnie Walker Black Label)
- 3/4 oz honey-ginger syrup
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz Islay single malt Scotch whisky (such as Laphroaig)
- In a shaker, combine the blended Scotch, honey-ginger syrup, and lemon juice.
- Add ice and shake well.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Float the Islay single malt on top of the drink.
- Garnish with a cand ginger slice and a lemon peel.
Note: The Penicillin Cocktail was created by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey in New York City and it was inspired by the medicinal properties of Penicillin the antibiotic. The honey-ginger syrup and Islay scotch whisky gives it a medicinal smokiness.
Penicillin Cocktail History
The Penicillin cocktail was created by Sam Ross, a bartender at Milk & Honey in New York City, in the mid-2000s. The drink was inspired by the medicinal properties of the antibiotic penicillin and its smoky, medicinal flavour profile. The drink originally featured scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, and a float of Islay scotch on top, which gave it a smoky, peaty flavour. The Penicillin quickly became a popular drink at Milk & Honey and has since been featured on cocktail menus at bars and restaurants around the world. It’s considered as a classic of the contemporary cocktail era, and a must-try for any whisky lover.
The Penicillin cocktail is a classic whisky-based cocktail that has been around for over a decade, and it has inspired many variations over the years. Some popular variations include:
- The Smoky Penicillin: This variation features a higher proportion of Islay scotch, which gives the drink a smokier, peatier flavour. Some bartenders also use lapsang souchong tea-infused honey syrup to give it a smoky flavor.
- The Spicy Penicillin: Some bartenders add a small amount of ginger juice or a ginger liqueur to the original recipe to give it a spicy kick.
- The Penicillin Sour: A variation with a higher proportion of lemon juice, making it a sour style cocktail.
- The Penicillin with a twist : Some bartenders may use different types of honey or syrups, like maple, to give it a different twist in the sweetness.
- The Penicillin with a different spirit: Some bartenders use different spirit than scotch to change the base of the cocktail, like bourbon or mezcal.
It’s worth noting that these are just a few examples and variations can vary widely depending on the bartender’s imagination and the ingredients available.
Best Scotch Whisky for a Penicillin
The Penicillin cocktail is traditionally made with blended scotch whisky and a float of Islay single malt scotch on top. Here are some scotch brands that are commonly used in Penicillin cocktails and are considered to be of good quality:
- Johnnie Walker Black Label: This is a popular blended scotch that is often used as the base of the Penicillin cocktail. It has a rich, smoky flavor that pairs well with the honey-ginger syrup and lemon juice.
- Laphroaig: This is a popular Islay single malt scotch that is often used as the float on top of the Penicillin cocktail. It has a smoky, peaty flavor that gives the drink a distinctive medicinal taste.
- Lagavulin: This is another Islay single malt scotch that is known for its smoky, peaty flavor. It’s a great choice for those who want a stronger smoky taste in their Penicillin cocktail.
- Talisker: This is a single malt from the island of Skye, known for its smoky, peaty and spicy notes, it’s a good alternative for Laphroaig.
- Ardbeg: This is another Islay single malt scotch that is known for its smoky, peaty flavor. It has a strong, distinctive flavor that can be used as a float on top of the Penicillin cocktail.
It’s worth noting that the scotch you use in a Penicillin cocktail can greatly affect the final taste. So, you should choose the scotch based on your personal preference.