This is a Drinking Hobby original inspired by the famous Dead Rabbit bar in New York City.
Many of the cocktails in their book (which is well worth a read) are based on older recipes or styles, but have been modified and adapted in unique ways. And this drink was created based loosely on some of their style.
There is a section of the recipes that has daisies and fixes, two very old styles of cocktails that are sours with a cordial or liqueur added. A very delicious revolution in the early creation of cocktails, as some modern favorites like the Margarita, Sidecar, and Cosmopolitan are all branches of the daisy family.
But we are going to mix it up a bit.
There is no cordial or liqueur in the Honorable Mention to actually make it a Daisy, but the flavors and inspiration come from that family of cocktails, plus it has sparkling water…
Another characteristic of daisy cocktails is that they were often lengthened with a bit of soda. The Dead Rabbit gets really creative with this by adding different flavored sodas as another subtle layer, but here I stuck with regular old club soda. So here’s how I made it…
Creating this Irish whisky cocktail
The base spirit for this drink is Power’s Gold Label Irish Whisky.
Before making up this cocktail I had only tasted it a handful of times, but after messing around with it I was pretty excited about how things were turning out.
The Gold Label is easy drinking with mild notes of honey and chocolate, and has the smooth finish that Irish whisky is often known for. And it sure does mix well in cocktails.
You could go light and fruity and play off of its’ lighter honey side, or mix it with bold dark flavors in some type of brown and boozy cocktail, but I went with the first option.
Other than figuring out which direction I wanted to take the drink, the ingredients came together pretty quickly.
The first ingredient I decided on was sherry.
Sherry is one of those ingredients that can be used really well to add background flavors to drinks in a subtle almost “oh that’s nice, what is that?” sort of way. Many times on the blog I have used Amontillado Sherry, and I went for it again to give that slightly acidic dry fruit, and nutty flavor.
The sherry is not a main flavor in the finished drink, but it works as a nice subtle layer.
Absinthe, lemon, and mint were all chosen to push the drink into the more light and refreshing style and it was just a matter or tweaking the ratios to get something balanced.
A “light” cocktail with whiskey?
Ahhh absolutely. If you haven’t had many drinks like this it might be hard to see how a drink with nearly 2 oz of whiskey can be categorized as “light”.
But let me clarify that we are talking about being light in flavor, not low ABV or low-calorie, and keep in mind that the two are not really linked.
Take a Mint Julip for example.
That drink often has 2 1/2+ ounces of bourbon in it, but lots of people think of that as a refreshing and somewhat ladylike cocktail. Light and bright in flavor sure, but those will knock you straight on your ass! Three of those and you no longer remember the super great little June party you threw for your friends.
SIDE NOTE: Let’s not have manly drinks and girly drinks… I will proudly sip a French 75 or a glass of sparkling rose any day. A good drink is a good drink dammit!
The Honorable Mention is light a bright in the same way that a Julip is because of the absinthe and mint. They work well together lifting all of the other flavors with their “green-ness” for lack of a better word.
Lets mix this cocktail
The finished drink has lots of minty anise flavor with a touch of tart lemon flavor and some nuttiness from the sherry, and if you didn’t know it would be hard to pick out the base spirit. The smooth nature of the Powers sort of holds everything together without be a major flavor, and that works really well here.
Let me just give it to you straight though, if you totally despise anise or black licorice flavors you probably won’t like this drink. But if you like fennel or anise with other flavors I think you should give it a try.
There is a bit of technique to know for this one.
Any time you have mint in a drink you need to be careful not to beat it up too much because it will start to release some muddy bitter flavors which you do not want in your drinks. Things that cause this are over muddling or shaking too hard with ice.
So the way around this in a shaken drink is to shake it first and muddle the mint after straining it.
So add all of the ingredients other than the mint and soda to your shaker, add ice and shake like a regular cocktail. Then open the shaker and fine strain the drink into the large tin, add the mint leaves and give them a couple gentile presses with your muddler. Now add the soda right to the shaker and pour the drink into the glass while straining the mint leaves.
It’s one extra step, but having bright green minty flavors and not muddy brown minty flavor is well worth it.
I hope you get the chance to make this baby!
Honorable Mention Cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz Irish Whisky - (I used Powers)
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
- 1/2 oz 1:1 Cane Simple Syrup
- 1 tsp Absinthe
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 oz Soda Water
- 5 Large Mint Leaves
- Add everything other than the Mint and Soda t your shaker tin.
- Add ice and shake hard for about 12 seconds.
- Double strain the drink into the large part of the tin.
- Add the mint leaves to the drink and gently press them 5 times with a muddler to release their oils.
- Add the soda to the tin and strain the drink into a cocktail glass with ice.
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If you aren't so sure about whiskey in your drinks, give something like this a try, it might surprise you.
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