There seems to be a “National Day” for every drink out there. That’s OK by me. Monday July 27 is National Scotch Day, which is a perfect reason to enjoy a glass or two of lovely Scotch whisky. These days Bourbon is favored over Scotch in the U.S., but Scotch certainly deserves a place on your bar.
This stuff has a long heritage. The Scots have been making whisky since the late 15th century with malted barley. The first written mention of Scotch dates back to 1494. Today Scotch is made from a combo of malt and grain, compared to Bourbon which is made with grain including at least 51 percent corn. Depending on the mixture of malt and grain, Scotch comes in five types:
- Single malt whisky – malt whisky from a single distillery
- Single grain whisky – grain whisky from a single distillery (not common)
- Blended malt whisky – a mixture of malt whiskies from different distilleries
- Blended grain whisky – a mixture of grain whiskies from different distilleries (not common)
- Blended whisky – a mixture of malt and grain whisky, usually from different distilleries
In addition to the types, the location where Scotch is made also has a bearing on it.
- Lowland — considered to be mild, mellow, and delicate
- Highland — the largest region for Scotch has well-known distilleries such as: Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Oban and Talisker
- Islay — known for heavily peated and smoky single malts like Laphroaig
- Speyside — situated next to the River Spey and known for creamy and fruity whiskies, it has the largest number of distilleries like Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan.
- Campbeltown — the smallest of the whisky producing regions, used to have several distilleries, but now only Glengyle, Glen Scotia, and Springbank remain
No matter which type or region, Scotch is delightful by itself or with ice. It’s also delicious in cocktails. Here are a few summery concoctions that you can make at home.
Created by Tim Heuisler, Time Restaurant, Philadelphia
A hearty, smoky take on the Bloody Mary.
- 2 oz. The Black Grouse
- 3 ½ oz. tomato juice (or Bloody Mary Mix)
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. Worcestershire
- Pinch celery salt
- Pinch fresh horseradish
Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with a gherkin, pickled onion and piece of bacon.
The Front Porch Punch
Created by Eryn Reece of Death & Company (NYC)
A refreshing summer drink that is slightly sweet with the herbal flavor of the tea and the smokiness of the whisky.
- 2 oz Chai Tea Infused Famous Grouse*
- .5 oz Lemon Juice
- .5 oz Pineapple Juice
- .75 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 oz Soda Water
*To Make Chai-Tea Infused Famous Grouse: Add 4 tablespoons loose leaf chai tea to a 750 mL bottle of The Famous Grouse. Let sit for at least half an hour and strain desired amount. Using the chai tea infused Famous Grouse as the base, combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain onto fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with lemon wheels.
That Scotch One
Created by Gareth Howells, Forrest Point, Brooklyn
Bitter, sweet and refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.
- 1 ½ oz Cutty Sark Whisky
- ½ oz Cocchi Americano
- ¾ oz White Peppercorn, Hibiscus Honey Syrup
- ¾ oz Lemon Juice
- 2 Dash Peychauds Bitters
- Boylan Creme Float
- Muddled Strawberry
- Mint Sprig Garnish
Combine all ingredients except the Boylan Creme in a Collins glass. Top with a Boylan Creme float and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Disclosure: I received samples of various whiskies at no cost.