Well, I feel like putting aside for a while my Manhattan project because some new creative horizons opened before me with the arrival of some samples of whisky which I got from the Master of Malt – a British whisky retailer with 25 year experience and world-wide reputation. Some time ago they launched an impressive marketing service called Drinks by the Dram. This innovation gave whisky lovers also neophyte alike the opportunity to order and taste 30 ml (about 1 fl. oz) samples of they brilliant stuff – wide range of whisky, whiskey and other interesting spirits. Another remarkable idea – the Master of Malt develop wide range topical dram sets which help us to taste many great whisky from different regions. The dram sets are an invaluable present for anyone who has a crush on whisky.
Now, I have received the so pretty box:
In the box I have found three little wax-sealed bottles with whisky:
You can imagine how exhilarated I was to get the parcel with sample. The Master of Malt gave me a chance to taste three dram of whisky – two Single Malt Whisky (Laphroaig Quarter Cask и Glengoyne 10 Years Old) and one bourbon (Johny Drum Black Label). Usually I write reviews of different spirits in my Encyclopedia of liquor, and it is not an exception. My full reviews of them coming soon!
My today’s post is devoted to quite an interesting cocktail which I had been dallying with for quite a long time before I got a proper whisky. I mean Smoky Martini – a curious variation of Dry Martini with scotch instead of traditional vermouth. The snag is that we should use smoky or peated scotch (like Isle Mist or one of famous single malts such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin or the like).
And now I will make a short digression to make a confession that my fascination with whisky is of theoretical nature. It is the cocktail that I am totally, irresistibly and unconditionally in love with. As regards whiskies, I like exploring them as potential ingredients. Besides single malts cost a pretty penny. There is yet another, romantic side to this interest of mine, a sort of ‘my heart’s in the Highlands…’, you know. I fell under the spell of the austere beauty of the wind-swept islands on which a long-standing tradition of distilling whisky has been passed from a generation to generation. Like anything in this world that boasts centuries long tradition whisky has a magnetic pull for me.
And now let me go back and continue the main thread of our discussion. Now that I got a sample of great inimitably flavoured Laphroaig Quarter Cask did I decide to try a variation of the Smoky Martini, a well- known variation of the Dry Martini cocktail which began its life in the eighties of last century. That was the beginning of cocktail renaissance when Martini-mania was in full swing. Incidentally, a creator of the drink remains unknown. An idea of switching dry vermouth with scotch seems fruitful and by far and large it is more palatable than a glass of icy gin. I use the recipe which I borrowed from the Dale DeGroff`s book The Craft of the Cocktail:
50 ml gin
10 ml scotch (Laphroaig Quarter Cask)
Stir all ingredients with a lot of ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
It is worth mentioning here that Laphroaig is not an expendable ingredient for Smoky Martini. The original recipe calls for blended scotch and you may use it.
I have tried the Smoky Martini with different gin and whisky. My first Smoky Martini was mixed with Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin and Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Wow! Really I was fascinated by the cocktail! The Smoky Martini has extraordinary dry and smoky taste. The entry is very smooth and oily. The palate is brilliant dry with a great explosion at the end. The finish had a lot of smoke, peat and a campfire smell. Actually the Smoky Martini is one of best variations of Dry Martini that I ever tasted.