After a few months hiatus, Mixology Monday has resurfaced. I am much pleased as this monthly challenge usually gets me thinking in a new way and August’s theme of Brown, Bitter and Stirred hosted by Lindsey Johnson was no different.
Brown, Bitter and Stirred immediately suggested a Manhattan and as I’d already been wondering how to use some tobacco-infused whisky I’d been planning to make, the two naturally seemed to come together. Having previously and successfully dabbled with tobacco in drinks (a cigar-infused bourbon – a smooth, quite sweet experience) I felt it was time to up the ante and get some hardcore smokiness into the bottle.
So I paid a visit to Smith & Sons tobacco shop on Charing Cross road. Without preamble, I asked for a tobacco that would be good to infuse whisky with which the chap in the shop was a bit bemused by at first – “So, you don’t want to smoke it, you want to, er, drink it??” After a few questions he realised I didn’t have a clue what I wanted so opened a few jars for me to sniff.
I dismissed the first few samples as too sweet (I’ve seen on some American sites that Black Cherry tobacco is popular for infusing but the version I sniffed was artificial and rather sickly) and the chap reached for Old London blend. Intensely smoky, even peaty, I felt it would give a darker, charred flavour than the cigar infusion, which was exactly what I was looking for.
I’d originally planned to use a peaty style Scotch but as I had some Glenmorangie that had been knocking around for a while, I thought it best to use that up. It worked brilliantly as the sweetness of the Scotch is exactly what was needed to counteract and complement the peaty tobacco.
I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with this Manhattan so, as I’d started this journey being led by my nose, I thought it best to let the old olfactory receptors finish the job. Whipping out the most likely suspects from the cocktail cabinet, I inhaled from each bottle until I felt I’d got a good balance.
The result confirmed what the nostrils had indicated as a good match. It was the first time I’ve made a drink by sense of smell but I enjoyed this drink so much I dare say it won’t be the last. And discoveries like that is what Mixology Monday is all about.
1.5 Balvenie Signature
0.5 Lillet Rouge
0.5 tobacco infused whisky
Few dashes cherry brandy
Swill a martini glass with the tobacco-infused whisky. Add with the rest of the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir thoroughly. Pour into the martini glass and garnish with a cherry.
Those with a sweeter tooth might like to add a dash of maraschino syrup to taste.