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.

The Black Grouse Tasting Notes

The Black GrouseHow many people are familiar with Johnnie Walker? Practically everyone who has had whisky, and even many who haven’t, are familiar with the rainbow of colors that make up Johnnie Walker. Most have heard of Johnnie Walker Red, Black, Blue, and even Green (though Green Label is discontinued) but how many people have heard of The Famous Grouse? Fewer.

And how many have heard of its smokier cousin – The Black Grouse? Fewer still.

It’s unfortunate because they’re both productions of The Edrington Group – makers of Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky, The Macallan, and Highland Park.

I was first introduced to The Black Grouse a few years ago with a public relations company representing The Black Grouse emailed me to find out if I’d heard of them (I hadn’t). They were introducing The Black Grouse in 2007 and offered me up some to try. I’d only vague heard of The Famous Grouse but I was familiar with The Edrington Group and was surprised to learn that The Famous Grouse produces more than 30 million bottles every year and is the 6th best selling Scotch Whisky in the world.

Enough trivia, onto the whisky! The Black Grouse is billed as a smokier cousin to The Famous Grouse and their goal was to produce an affordable blended scotch whisky with peatier and smokier characteristics. On that score, they achieved their goal. The nose is smoky yet sweet and it’s unmistakable what they were trying to achieve. Clearly not as smoky on nose or tongue as Ardbeg but you get the point and purpose. Islay addicts will find the smoke in The Black Grouse to be quaint, newbies will find it to be a fine introduction to smokiness. Present but not overpowering. A bit like how you smell after sitting next to a campfire for an hour, rather than all night. On the palate, it was light brown sugar sweet and light in body with a dark chocolate finish.

One night, for comparison (and the reason why Ardbeg is referenced above), I had some Ardbeg followed by The Black Grouse. I wanted to compare it to what is considered the peatiest Islay and The Black Grouse, likely by design, was merely an echo of Ardbeg. I wish I had, on hand, some Famous Grouse to make the comparison but unfortunately I didn’t.

One crucial point to remember is that The Black Grouse, and its cousin The Famous Grouse, retail for under $30 per 750ml. The Famous Grouse can be found for under $25 per 750ml. That’s a very affordable bottle and puts it at roughly the same price point of a Johnnie Walker Black and Red, for a basis of price comparison. It’s not the smoothest scotch, it’s difficult to expect that at this price point, but it’s smooth enough that you whisky drinkers won’t notice unless you had something aged much longer ahead of it.

All in all, they’ve packed a lot of value into this bottle.

The Black Grouse: Black and Blue Drink Recipe

The Black GrouseLong time readers of Scotch Addict will probably recognize that I don’t drink many blended Scotch whiskies, as many of my tasting notes are of single malts, but I do enjoy a blend from time to time to add a bit of variety. One of the blends I’m familiar with is The Famous Grouse, close cousins to The Macallan and Highland Park (each is owned by the Edrington Group).

One of the things I was sent was a recipe for the Black and Blue, a drink inspired by barbecue and includes The Black Grouse. The Black Grouse is intended to be a more heavily peated special edition of The Famous Grouse. You’ll note how it’s called the “darker” grouse because of the smokier character and features a black grouse, rather than a red grouse.

The tasting notes read more like an Islay, with a peaty-smoke nose followed by sweetness. The taste features a smoky-sweet tones, hinted by the nose, followed by cocoa and spice. The finish is said to be long, peaty, and aromatic with gentle smokiness. Having never tried the Famous Grouse (yet), I have no basis for comparison but I suspect this popular blends satisfies even the most aggressive of peat lovers.

As an added bonus, The Famous Grouse donates 50p for every bottle sold to the RSPB to help safeguard the 85,000 acres that make up the native habitat of the black grouse.

The Black and Blue
2 ounce The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
½ ounce calvados (apple brandy)
½ ounce amaretto
¼ ounce Hazelnut Liqueur

All in all a simple recipe created by Beverage Manager Tinika Green and Andrew Duncan, bartender of famed BBQ restaurant Blue Smoke, NY.