Forget Beer and Rosé, a Truly Classy BBQ Calls for Whisky Cocktails
Whisky cocktails sit on the bar alongside a bottle of Johnnie Walker Bledners’ Batch Red Rye Finish, a blended scotch whisky at the Bon Vivant in Edinburgh, U.K. (Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg)

Forget Beer and Rosé, a Truly Classy BBQ Calls for Whisky Cocktails

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(Bloomberg) -- Did summer even happen if you didn’t have or attend a backyard barbecue? Not in our world. 

But with all the pressure it takes to be a grill master—and major pitfalls to avoid—from bringing the briquettes to a perfect glow, marinating the meat just right, and making sure the dog doesn’t snatch it while your head is turned, you’re naturally going to want some liquid encouragement. Beer is the obvious choice to quench your thirst as you stand over a scorching grill. Once it’s time to feast, however, impress your guests with something much more sophisticated.

This cocktail is a twist on the classic Rob Roy (basically a Manhattan with Scotch), but with enough tweaks to make it the perfect companion to summertime meat-eating. For the whisky, Compass Box’s Great King Street Glasgow Blend is a bartender favorite thanks to a high malt content that works well in cocktails. A little sweet and a little smoky, it’s a great gateway to peated blends. “Most blended Scotch whiskies use under 30% malt, and we use 65%, giving a lot more depth, flavor, and finish while still getting the mixability of a blend,” says Kerrin Egalka, director of sales, Eastern U.S., for the brand.

Dolin dry vermouth is another staple behind top bars for its light body and refreshing acidity, packed with alpine herbs such as rose, chamomile, and génépi (wormwood). Ramazzotti, an amaro similar to a Fernet but less intensely bitter, includes heavy notes of vanilla and citrus—some even say it tastes a bit like Coca-Cola. These lighter, herb-inflected ingredients pair with the smoky Scotch to ensure your drink holds up next to generously seasoned cuts of meat.

If you have access to large ice cubes, either hand-cut or mold-made, use them here; they’ll melt more slowly, allowing you to sip the drink over the course of the meal. But on a hot summer day, any ice will do.

Dry Rob

Serves 1

1¼ oz. Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blend
1 oz. Dolin dry vermouth
¾ oz. Ramazzotti amaro
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Orange peel, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir for 20 seconds, than strain into an ice-filled Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

12 Cocktails of Summer

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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