Penicillin

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Cocktail History

The Penicillin is a modern whiskey cocktail that was created by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey in New York City in 2007. Although essentially a modified Whiskey Sour, it features an extraordinary mix of complementing flavors, including whiskey, citrus, honey, and ginger, that has made it a cult classic over the last decade.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Blended Scotch: This is the base spirit. We chose to use The Famous Grouse because it’s a great mixing Scotch with a bit of smoky flavor but still plenty of sweetness.

Lemon Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes much better.

Honey Syrup: This is a sweetener that adds honey flavor. We made ours using Alex’s simple recipe.

Ginger Syrup: This is a sweetener that gives the cocktail its spicy ginger flavor. We made our syrup using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Single Malt Scotch: This is a smokier spirit that is floated on top for more Scotch flavor.

Candied Ginger: This is the garnish. It adds fragrant ginger aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

This Penicillin features a smoky and peaty Scotch scent that’s accented with lemon, and the first sip is very heavy with Scotch, but the ongoing flavors bring in the sweeter tastes of lemon, honey, and ginger as they’re held in the mouth. The ginger also provides a slight spice while the sweet honey balances it back out, and all are complimented with the burn of the blended Scotch as it’s swallowed.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Although a little too heavy on the Scotch for Kendall, the Penicillin is one of Alex’s favorite cocktails. It’s definitely worth trying this cocktail at least once; it’s a modern classic for a reason!

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Blended Scotch
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 ½ oz Single Malt Scotch
 2 Candied Ginger Pieces

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, honey ginger syrup, lemon juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass filled with clear ice ball or crushed ice.

4

Carefully float single malt Scotch on top with a bar spoon.

5

Garnish with candied ginger.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Blended Scotch
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 ½ oz Single Malt Scotch
 2 Candied Ginger Pieces

Directions

Method
1

Add blended Scotch, honey ginger syrup, lemon juice, and ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a lowball glass filled with clear ice ball or crushed ice.

4

Carefully float single malt Scotch on top with a bar spoon.

5

Garnish with candied ginger.

Penicillin

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Modern Cocktails

If you like this cocktail recipe, here are a few other modern classics we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

 Mott & Mulberry: A rye cocktail made with Luxardo Amaro Abano, apple cider, lemon juice, Demerara syrup, and apple slices

 Boo Radley: A bourbon cocktail made with Cynar, cherry liqueur, a lemon peel, and an orange peel

 Paper Plane: A bourbon cocktail made with Aperol, Amaro Nonino Quintessentia, lemon juice, and a lemon peel

 White Negroni: A gin cocktail made with Lillet Blanc, Suze, and a lemon peel

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