The origin story of many spirits is the same - colonists or explorers land somewhere, run of out the hootch they brought from home, and then look around to figure out what they can distill in their new land. My Tale of Three Whisk(e)ys cocktail class on May 7 took us on a trip from malted barley in Scotland (Scotch) to rye in Pennsylvania (Rye), and ultimately corn in Kentucky (Bourbon) as the settlers headed west. Attendees got a chance to compare and contrast by sampling the whiskeys on their own, and then to see how they played in cocktails.
The Manhattan provided a good basis for comparison since it was originally made with Rye, is now more frequently made with Bourbon, and if you swap in Scotch you have a Rob Roy cocktail. Then we moved on to taste several cocktails that highlighted the advantages and character of each of the whiskeys.
When I was planning the class, I thought it would be really fun to create a cocktail that used all three whiskeys in combination. With help from a little apple brandy and some bitters, I came up with one that allows the three to sing in harmony together! Here's the recipe so you can play along at home.
The Special Relationship
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir well until chilled, 30-50 revolutions. Pour into old fashioned glass half filled with ice (preferably one big ball or cube). Cut orange and lemon twists over the glass and squeeze to express oils before dropping into glass.