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Top 10 Dramnation Cocktails Of 2016

Author: Matt Wooler - Thursday, December 29, 2016

It is now the end of 1026 and we wanted to bring to you our Top 10 cocktails from our various whisky sessions over the year. Here they are in order of appearance as we will let you decided what was your favourite. A big thanks to all involved in developing these creations to pair into our tastings, especially to Sydney Cocktail Club and Crooked Tailor bar.

1. Smokey Whisky Punch - Cocktail

Event - Whisky Manipulations Session 1 2016

Whisky: Ardbeg 10yo

Ingredients: 30ml whisky, 15ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar), 1 dash orange bitters, soda to top up, dehydrated orange or lemon slices to garnish.

Method: Combine whisky, lemon juice, bitters and sugar syrup in glass and stir. Load with ice then top up with soda water and garnish with a dehydrated citrus slice.

Glass: Tumbler or highball.


2. Umeshu Whisky Fizz - Cocktail

Event - Made In Japan Session 1 2016

Plum wine is a big favourite in Japan so we simply had to have a cocktail with Umeshu plum wine in a balanced cocktail, especially as we would be tasting both later on in the event.

Whisky: Suntory Hakushu Distiller's Reserve

Ingredients: 30ml whisky, 30ml Umeshu plum wine, 30ml fresh lemon juice, soda to top up, slice of lemon or Umeshu soaked plums to garnish (usually supplied in Umeshu bottle).

Method: Combine whisky, Umeshu and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice then shake. Pour into a tumbler loaded with crushed ice and garnish with a Umeshu soaked plum.

Glass: Fatboy Tumbler or highball.


3. Morning Glory Fizz - Cocktail

Event - World Whisky Tour Session 1, 2016

It is amazing what fresh lemon juice does to whisky in a cocktail. Even the lightest whiskies in ABV can shine through a cocktail when lemon is involved. Drink it ice cold so the lemon juice remains balanced.

Whisky: The Glenlivet Founders Reserve

Ingredients: 30ml whisky, 20ml lemon, 15ml sugar syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar), 1 dash absinthe, 1 egg white, soda to top up, lemon wedge garnish.

Method: Vigorously shake the first 5 ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker then strain into chilled glass excluding ice. Top up with soda water then spritz and garnish with a lemon edge.

Glass: Tumbler for more intense flavour and aroma or a Highball with more soda to quell the citric notes.


4. Whisky Smash - Cocktail

Event - World Whisky Tour Session 2, 2016

Easy, fast and effective in this whisky we wanted something easy to make at home. Bourbon loves mint and mint loves bourbon.

Whisky: Old Forester Bourbon

Ingredients: 45ml Bourbon, 30ml fresh lemon juice, 10-15ml sugar syrup, 8-10 'clapped' mint leaves.

Method: Add all ingredients to shaker with rock ice, shake hard and strain over crushed ice in an old fashioned/rocks glass.
*garnish with lemon wedge, bushy mint sprig.

Glass: Tumbler/Rocks Glass.


5. Mulled Wine - Hot Cocktail

Event - WIne Cask Whiskies Session 1, 2016

It was winter and wine cask whiskies were the name of the day. Through our Experimental Series we have built up a rather unique mulled wine that uses apple cider rather than sugar as the sweetening agent. Not only does it become much lighter but it also removes the need to longer infusion time to break down the sugars. Be sure to lay off the citrus rind when cooking so as not to overpower the delicate nature of apple cider.

Whisky: NA

x1 Bottle red wine - A soft red like a merlot is good
x4 cups apple cider - This replaces using sugar
x1 Orange (juiced) + keep 1/4 the skin for the pot or used slices
1/4 cup Honey
x4 Cloves
x2 Cinnamon sticks
x3 Star Anise


Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil. Once it starts to boil reduce to a low simmer for at least 10 minutes to allow spices to combine. Serve hot from the pot and garnish with a floating star anise or a stick of cinnamon.

This mulled wine can be left on heat with the lid on for a good time after cooking is complete. Remove the orange skin if left to simmer or it will make the wine bitter. Consider doing the same for the spices if it gets too strong. Remember the longer it simmers the more alcohol is cooked off.


6. Islay Sour - Cocktail

Event - Smoke Stacks Session 1, 2016

With a session dedicated to simply smokey whiskies, we wanted to create a cocktail that talked smoke but refreshed with citrus. If there is anything that goes so well in a whisky cocktail then it is the citrus sourness of lemon juice.

Whisky: Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ingredients: 2 parts whisky, 1 part lemon juice, ½ part sugar syrup, ½ part egg white, cubed ice or crushed ice.

Method: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake hard for about 10 to 15 seconds.
Strain the into a ice filled glass and garnish with the a cherry. The egg white give the foam effect. Pour over additional ice if using crushed.

Glass: Tumbler / Rocks Glass


7. pineapple shrub- Cocktail

Event - Whisky Manipulations Hot & Cold Session 2, 2016

Developed for our Hot & Cold Whisky Manipulation series this cocktail worked in the house made pineapple shrub (drinking vinegar) with Fever-Tree soda. No spirit involved in this cocktail yet extremely refreshing and rich.

Whisky: NA

Ingredients: Pineapple Shrub (Drinking Vinegar), Fever Tree Soda Water, Cucumber sliced.

Method: To make Pineapple Shrub combine 1/2 part diced fresh pineapple to 1 part sugar muddled together in a sealed jar/ container. Let it sit for about 4-5 days until sugar dissolves stirring the mixture for 10 sec each day. Once dissolved add 1/4 part Apple Cider Vinegar, mix, then strain into another sealed container and refrigerate until use.

Add 15ml Pineapple shrub in a tumbler then fill with ice. Top over with 100ml Fever Tree soda water or until full. Garnish with a fresh sliced cucumber.

Glass: Tumbler


8. The Beer Belly - Beer Cocktail

Event - Southern BBQ Boilermakers Session 1, 2016

Wanting to establish a twist to an already complex tasting of beer, whisky and bbq we turned to the Crooked Tailor bar to work up a beer and bourbon infused whisky.

Whisky: Jim Beam White Label

Ingredients: 30ml Bourbon, 5ml Amer Picon, 20ml white grapefruit juice, 10ml honey, 10ml lager reduction, 1/2 egg white. Soda water

Method: Combine bourbon, picon, grapefruit juice, honey, and lager with egg white in a shaker and shake until egg white has foamed. Pour into a glass and top up with soda water.

Glass: Highball


9. Apera Champera - Cocktail

Event - Whisky Manipulations Hot & Cold Session 2

Developed for our Hot & Cold Whisky Manipulations series we wanted to emphasis the rich caramel banana flavours found in the signature Starward whisky aged in Australian Apera casks.

Whisky: Starward Solera

Ingredients: 20ml Starward Solera Single Malt, 10ml Becherovka and top up with ginger ale garnished with dehydrated banana.

Method: Stir whisky and Becherovka in glass and pour into flute before topping it up with Fever Tree Ginger Ale. 

Glass: Champagne Flute


10. Kentucky Tom - Savoury Cocktail

Event - Working With Bourbon (Experimental Series)

From our private Experimental Series we aimed for a extremely robust sweet to savoury cocktail that would go perfectly with smokey bbq on a hot summer afternoon or a grilled egg and bacon breakfast. This truly is an edible cocktail.

Whisky: Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Ingredients: 40ml Woodford Reserve, 160ml rich smoked tomato juice, 20ml brown sugar syrup, dash worcestershire  sauce, dash tabasco, candied bacon strips, candied bacon bits, sprig rosemary, pepper & salt.

Method: Combine whisky, tomato juice, sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice to mix. Dash in tabasco and worcestershire sauce to desired spice with pinches of cracker pepper and salt to balance the sweetness. Pour into a ice loaded mason jar. Garnish with a stick of candied bacon, sprinkled bacon bits and a sprig of rosemary. Choose to serve with smoked BBQ chicken wings or bacon rashes. Watch for those bacon bits as they sink to the bottom of the jar and combine with the rich sweet bourbon.

Glass: Mason Jar

Other: To make smoked tomato juice charcoal or hotplate grill several whole tomatoes until starting to break apart. Combine tomatoes with regular tomato juice and blend. Strain into a jar and chill until ready to use. Also substitute the brown sugar syrup for maple syrup to enhance the Woodford Reserve Bourbon flavours.

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