Scotch is often an acquired taste. The peat-smudged smoke can be too intense for some people. However, the hint of apple and elderflower in this drink sweetens the smokiness just enough to appeal to a broader range of palates. Still, I love the restrained way the smoke in this cocktail wafts into your consciousness a millisecond after the fact. This drink is from my book Savory Cocktails (Ulysses Press, 2013)
—Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)
Test Kitchen Notes
Finally, it’s fall again -- that’s what the Autumn Ash says to me. Break out the Scotch that’s been hiding in your hutch all summer, add some apple brandy, elderflower liqueur, and orange bitters, and enjoy the smokiness of Scotch with a light, fruity undertone. I used an apple brandy from Ironworks Distillery in Nova Scotia, Johnny Walker Red, and St. Elder’s Elderflower Liqueur, along with Regan’s Orange Bitters. The St. Elder’s may have added a bit more power to the cocktail -- it has a higher alcohol content than St. Germain -- making this one strong drink. I’m going to mix up a batch of Autumn Ash for a cocktail party very soon. —Alison
Combine the Scotch, apple brandy, St. Germain, and bitters in a mixing glass half-filled with ice. Stir until chilled and properly diluted, about 20 seconds. Julep strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon chip; its oil expressed onto the surface of the drink and rubbed onto the rim of the glass, then dropped or draped on top.