Whiskey cocktail

Whiskey Cocktail Hour, Father’s Day edition: Aizome Island

Father’s Day is approaching soon and as our worldview has changed a lot these days, especially throughout the pandemic, I wanted to take this opportunity to explore something outside of the typical ‘manly’ drink ideas that you see every year on this holiday. The idea that things have to be dark and smoky and hit you in the face with flavor to be seen as masculine enough seems outdated at best, and detrimental to our perceptions of gender at worst.

The concept of gendered drinks strikes me as strange, and it’s a concept I’ve seen time and time again in the spirits industry. To say that an Old Fashioned is a manly drink when a Cosmopolitan is not doesn’t seem ridiculous, not to mention the fact that there are a lot of men who would prefer the latter.

With that in mind, I wanted to make a cocktail this month with a tropical vibe. The weather is warming up and nothing pleases me, a bit like a blue drunk! Blue curacao often has a bad reputation. Naturally, as there weren’t many options on the market until recently, and a number of the incredibly sweet drinks of yesteryear almost ruined its reputation.

Blue curacao is native to the Caribbean island of Curacao, just off the coast of Venezuela, near Aruba. Long ago, the Spanish colonizers brought their sweet and juicy oranges to the island, but the dry, desert climate prevented the oranges from growing into the delicious and juicy oranges they knew, and instead they are become bitter and inedible. Over time it was discovered that by using the rinds of these Laraha oranges one could extract essential oils and thus the liquor we know today was born. Originally, it was produced without the characteristic blue tint. No one is quite sure when the intense blue coloring was added to the mix, but it seems to have gained popularity in the ’60s after the release of Elvis’ movie Blue Hawaii.

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Finding whiskey along the Northern Ireland Whiskey Route

Most people wouldn’t necessarily think of whiskey when they think of tropical drinks, but I’m the type of girl who likes to do something unexpected. At 86 proofs, and with hints of green apple, mint and ginger, I thought Suntory Toki would make a great backbone for a tropical style whiskey drink. It pairs well with the tropical flavors of passion fruit and pineapple, and always ends with a malty, very slightly peaty finish. So grab your shaker and take dad on a tropical vacation with this drink for Father’s Day. Cheers!

Aizome Island

This month’s Whiskey Happy Hour cocktail, Aizome Island (Image via Emily Ross-Johnson / The Whiskey Wash)

Aizome Island

  • 1 1/2 oz Suntory Toki
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz BG Reynolds Passion Fruit Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Giffard Curaçao Bleu
  • 1/4 oz Demerara syrup *

Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with sage pineapple (mint is a good substitute) and a lemon wedge.

* Demerara syrup

Combine 1.5 cups of Demerara sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.

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