I’ve been told that it takes a brave man living and working in the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky country to put together a cocktail with whisky and pineapple in its mix.
But as a sportsman with a passion for rugby in my spare time, I’m used to standing up for myself and taking knocks.
I had no idea how customers at The Station Hotel where I work as a mixologist would react to me taking a 10 year old single malt whisky from the local distillery Glen Grant, and giving it a tropical twist.
Having worked in some of Scotland’s busiest bars and nightclubs, I’m not scared to experiment with whiskies or any other spirits and ingredients for that matter.
But it’s a little bit different taking the town’s world-famous Scotch and putting it at the heart of a cocktail with coconut syrup, pineapple, orange and cranberry juices and a measure of Archers peach schnapps.
With many hotel customers working for some of the best known whisky brands in the world, I knew they might take a little convincing that what I was doing was alchemy and not sacrilege!
Some whisky drinks don’t even add ice to their drink but as a mixologist it’s all about taking a wide variety of tastes and flavours and marrying them together to make the perfect drink.
In fact some customers who work in distilling are surprised when they tasted Whisky Business and told me: ‘It shouldn’t work – but it does’.
These people could be my fiercest critics but they seem to appreciate what I’m doing as another way to sample - and enjoy - whisky.
The Whisky Business features on our latest cocktails menu. There will be more whisky-based cocktails in the future as I’ve got access to plenty of other whisky to experiment with as the Station Hotel’s Spirit Safe bar has a range of over 300 malts. I have been warned that more expensive drams like a rare limited edition malt retailing at £649.95 a measure, are off limits!
Alongside Whisky Business, the new drinks menu includes gin-based classic Raspberry Collins and Gone With The Gin, which features the craft gin El:Gin, made in Elgin just a 20 minute drive away.
I hope that by making and serving cocktails it helps introduce customers to different spirits from their regular tipple, and enjoy new taste experiences.
Inspired? Then try making one of my cocktails from the recipes below, or pop over to the Station Hotel in Rothes, Speyside, and I will make one for you!
Glen Grant 10yr: 37.5ml
Coconut syrup: 12.5mls
Orange juice: 37.5mls
Cranberry juice: 25mls
Pineapple juice: 25mls
Add all the ingredients into a shaker and shake for 15 seconds to get a fine froth. Pour into a whisky rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with two pineapple leaves and a quarter orange on the rim.
Gone with the Gin
Blue Curaçao: 25mls
Cranberry juice: 50mls
Lemon juice: 18.75mls
Place all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and leave to rest while preparing a martini glass with lemon around the rim and dipping the rim in fine sugar. Pour in the cocktail without getting the sugar wet. Serve with a slice of lime on the side.
Lemon juice: 18.75mls
Gomme syrup: 12.5mls
Angostura bitters: 3 drops
Raspberry purée: 25mls
Place all the ingredients apart from the raspberry puree and soda into a shaker and mix. Add raspberry puree and shake again. Take a hurricane glass or similar, add ice and pour over, leaving a space of one inch from the top of the glass and fill with soda. Stir gently and garnish with a skewer threaded with raspberries and lime.