Scotch Purists Beware
“There are two things a Highlander likes naked, and one of them is malt whiskey.”
I've been a single malt man for quite some time now, and I don't see myself rushing out to try the Frankenstein drink as listed in this story, but I have no problem with others doing as they wish with their Scotch.
I have bastardized Scotch before myself. I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but during the Kentucky derby I found myself without any Bourbon so I concocted a fantastic Highland Mint Julep from a Dalmore 12yo I had on the shelf.......
As a Scottish proverb says: “There are two things a Highlander likes naked, and one of them is malt whiskey.” But those New Yorkers are islanders, not Highlanders, and adulteration befits them. Case in point: the Sweet Solera, the single-malt cocktail I was hunting (prematurely, as it turned out) on my first trip to Shorty’s. It’s listed on the chalkboard menu now, a new but secure addition. And, unless you really are a Highlander, it’s worth seeking out.
A mixture of Glenfiddich 15-Year-Old Solera Reserve, Lillet Rouge, and a winsome dash of caramel syrup, and bespangled with a maraschino cherry, the Sweet Solera is a cousin to a Rob Roy, meaning it’s kin to a Manhattan. That is to say, it comes from a good family. While the root beer-y sweetness of the Lillet Rouge and caramel blunt the rugged, smoky edges of the Scotch, the peatiness still comes rumbling through. It takes more than a cherry to tame a single malt.
Yet Scotch connoisseurs might reasonably ask: Why even try? “Single malts have such a specific flavor profile, so it’s difficult to argue why you would want to mess with that,” said Charlotte Voisey, a “brand ambassador” at William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich’s parent company. Ms. Voisey is adept at making that argument, however — Shorty’s Sweet Solera happens to be her creation. She chose a single malt rather than a blended, because, she said, it brings a “very pure and singular flavor” to the drink.
“Certainly, eyebrows have been raised,” she admitted. “But a cocktail, in and of itself, isn’t a means of disguising the base flavor. It’s a means of showcasing that flavor and exploring how else it can be enjoyed.”
It’s also a means of cracking the perception that single-malt Scotches are designed for rich old men to sip, neat or on the rocks, after a round of golf or a corporate merger or both, a stereotype Ms. Voisey is eager to dispel. “Cocktails are supposed to be fun,” she said.
Even — raised, white-tufted eyebrows aside — single-malt cocktails.
SWEET SOLERA Adapted From Shorty’s.32
1 1/4ounces Glenfiddich Solera Reserve Scotch
¾ ounce Lillet Rouge
½ ounce Monin caramel syrup
1 maraschino cherry, for garnish.
Stir all liquid ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass or an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with the cherry.