Whiskey Mac (MacDonald) Cocktail Recipe

Want a simple but refreshing summer beverage that includes your favorite spirit?

Consider the Whisky Mac, short of Whisky MacDonald. The idea of it comes to me from Reader Raymond who quips:

Funny how you say, you have discovered Bourbon I have devoured 3 bottles I have only tasted cheap Cougar in case I did not like it. But I kind of like it, so I will now start to explore. One thing I know is, I have been drinking whisky mac and I have put on tons of weight. I find it difficult to run, I keep spilling it.

I recommended a flask for our enterprising exercising imbiber. 🙂

So what’s in a Whisky Mac?

It has two ingredients – 1½ ounces of Scotch whisky mixed with 1½ ounces of green ginger wine.

Can’t get simpler than that!

Pour both into a single glass, no ice, and you have yourself the simplest cocktail ever short of scotch neat.

As for finding green gingner wine, I’ve never purchased green ginger wine though if I were, chances are I’d find a bottle of Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine because it’s available in many stores and they may be the only producer of green ginger wine!

My Brother-in-Law’s Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

My brother-in-law loves an Old-Fashioned cocktail.

Ever since seeing its resurgence in popularity on Mad Men, he’s been mixing them whenever we get together and he’s turned me into a convert. It’s got

The best part about his recipe is that he uses Canadian Club, as Don Draper does in the show, and despite the affordable selection, the drink comes out delicious. Other times he’s made it with Bulleit or another rye whiskey and each time it’s been great.

Here’s the recipe he uses:

Old Fashioned

  • Sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • water
  • 2 oz. of a rye whiskey
  • 2 slivers of orange peel

He puts the sugar cube in the glass and puts a few dashes of bitters and a small splash of water. Add in the orange peels and muddle it with a wooden muddler. Swirl the mixture along the walls of the glass. Drop in an ice cube or two and then pours in the whiskey.

There are other variations of the recipe but that’s the basic gist. Some suggest topping it off with soda water though he’s never done it. Others say you can use bourbon instead of rye whiskey (lots of bourbon has rye in it so this makes sense).

You can play with the different components, adding more or less bitters or adding different citrus (lemon is a common one), but the basic idea is still the same. You have a sweet (sugar cube) and bitter drink that’s accentuated by the rye whiskey.

Garnish with a cherry if you’re feeling particular fancy. 🙂

Presbyterian Revenge Cocktail Recipe

Presbyterian-RevengeMost of the time I drink scotch, I do it neat. Very rarely do I add ice, but when I do it’s often because it’s a cocktail. I’m a sucker for a nice, balanced, fruit-inspired cocktail.

I discovered this one, called Presbyterian Revenge, and it looks delicious. I like the citrus of the lemon juice and grapefruit bitters, though I’m curious about Cynar. I’d never heard of Cynar before but it’s an Italian bitter liqueur made from a bunch of herbs and plants, the most prominent is artichoke.

The recipe calls for Black Grouse, which I like enough to enjoy neat but makes for an affordable blended scotch to mix with, and the smokiness works.

Presbyterian Revenge

Created by John McCarthy of Bathtub Gin:

  • 1.5 oz. The Black Grouse
  • .75 oz. Cynar
  • .25 oz. Lemon Juice
  • .25 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 Dash Grapefruit Bitters

Directions: Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Top with a splash of soda, garnish with a grapefruit twist.

How to Make Crystal Clear Ice Cubes

Credit: Barta IV

Credit: Barta IV

I never put ice cubes in my single malt scotch, at most a few drops of water, but when it comes to cocktails I recognize that a bit of chill often improves the enjoyment of said cocktail.

When it comes to ice cubes, or ice balls, there is something a bit strange when the ice is all cloudy. I know it’s mostly air bubbles, my logical brain says that, but my emotional brain says… it just doesn’t look right. I don’t seem to care much when it’s ice in water, but a clear ice cube is just beautiful when in a cocktail.

So how do you get clear ice cubes?

Simple, it’s really a two step process.

First, you want to use filtered water. Filtered will remove some of the minerals and dust that is in the water when it freezes. Those contribute to the cloudiness. (one added benefit of filtering the water is that those minerals don’t get in your beverage)

The next step is to freeze the ice slowly. By freezing it slowly, the air is able to escape. Some places will tell you that you should boil the water a bazillion times, that each boil and cool cycle will release more of the air. That might release some of the air but it doesn’t result in crystal clear glass.

The reality is that to get clear glass, you just need to freeze it slowly. This isn’t me talking, this is advice from Sother Teague, a former R&D chef for Alton Brown on Good Eats.

How do you freeze it slowly?

  • Get your molds and fill them with water.
  • Now put them in an insulated cooler and seal the cooler.
  • Put that cooler into another cooler full of water.
  • Put this outer cooler, without a lid, into the freezer.
  • Wait forever.
  • Once the entire block freezes, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a minute to give it time to separate from the outer cooler. Then cut out the molds and retrieve your perfectly clear ice cubes.

If you’re keeping track at home, the outer cooler’s water freezes, which then freezes the molds inside a cooler full of air. It really is a long long time. If you can handle almost crystal clear cubes, using clean filtered water that you boiled is the next best alternative.

I’m not really sure if it’s worth it to get crystal clear ice cubes… and whisky stones might be better anyway. 🙂

Smoked Rose Cocktail

Smoked Rosemary

Credit: Howard Wise, The Black Grouse

Created by Tony Hoff of Sassafras (Los Angeles, CA)

  • 2 oz. The Black Grouse
  • .25 oz. Rosemary Syrup
  • .5 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 1 sprig smoked rosemary

This cocktail recipe is pretty simple. It has only a few ingredients but it includes one very very clever idea – smoked rosemary. Smoked rosemary is exactly what it sounds like, you light a dry sprig of rosemary, blow it out, and put the smoke into the glass itself.

Then, you mix in the other ingredients listed above in a mixing glass and strain it into the smoked glass.

I like the choice of Black Grouse because the smokiness of Black Grouse is accentuated by the rosemary smoke. And while I find that I can enjoy Black Grouse neat but sometimes it’s nice to make something special with it.


Smoked Rose Finished

Credit: Howard Wise, The Black Grouse