Project Recreate – North Garden

by KeithP on June 9, 2010

Islay … oh my sweet Islay how I miss you … sorry, drifted there for a second.  As noted in my most recent PR post the Godfather and I hit up theSpeakista’s home away from home base mixology Death & Co. in a trip that yielded several fine recreate candidates.  The Cortado is a sinful excursion into rummy goodness with multiple waves of deep, rich flavors coming from several different components.

After sipping my first drink for what seemed like an eternity my mind drifted as it as apt to do … oh Islay, my lovely peaty beauty how I long for your … towards whisky and in particular my beloved Islay.  The menu at Death & Co. is expansive and so I told the waitress that I was looking for something with Islay, didn’t matter what or how but just needed to have some Islay.  Joaquin Simo and Brian Miller were behind the stick that night and the waitress returned with a drink off their newly rolled out menu called the North Garden – a cool riff on an Old Fashioned blending bonded applejack, bourbon and Islay.

North Garden
Recipe adapted, as best as can be accomplished, from the menu at Death & Co.; ingredients listed are per the menu, substitutions are noted and the proportions are assumed by theSpeakista.

•   1 1/2 oz Lairds Bonded Applejack
•    1 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
•    1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 year Scotch
•    1 barspoon of demerara sugar syrup
•    2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Garnish: no garnish
Glass: rocks glass
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon and a julep strainer

Assembly: Combine all of the ingredients in the mixing glass with ice and stir for at least 30 seconds until well chilled, strain the mixture into the serving glass filled with a large square ice cube and sip away!

The verdict: Hello my sweet lady Islay. Another fantastic example of how the tweaking of a classic recipe and the combination of different flavored spirits can yield amazing results.  As with the Cortado I’m not sure how close I am to the actual recipe but the flavor from the above recreate came pretty close to my tasting notes.  The aroma is of light peat followed by a wonderful breeze of apples.  The taste? Well this was just what the Islay doctor ordered – Mr. Peaty enters the room first but is not too dominate.  In fact the smokiness of the scotch pairs wonderfully well with the charred oak and spice from the bourbon and the muted taste of apples from the applejack. All of the components here seem to enhance the others not dominate – a clear sign to me of well constructed drink. While this drink ultimately appears to be some what simple in construction, this simplicity belies the excellent pairing of flavors in a nice crisp package.  If you have these ingredients at home pull them out and make this. It will be well worth your minimal effort at assembly.

For the novice imbiber: build off the classics first. Get comfortable making a classic like a bourbon Old Fashioned before you start with creative flavor combinations.  Once you are versed in the classics, the true backbone of most drinks, you’ll be reading to start experimenting.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 4 1/4 stars (out of 5)

theSpeakista asks:

1. Sure bourbon and rye work but bourbon, Islay and applejack – what do you think of the above?

2. All right you sophisticated imbibers out there … hit us with your best “classic” cocktail riff?

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