Irish whiskey cocktails are unusual, as are cocktails that use rosemary – or at least, that use it well – so I thought this would be a good one to highlight, especially since the ingredients aren’t too unusual.
The drink is from the PDT Cocktail Book, by Dave Meehan. PDT is one of New York City’s best cocktail bars, and I’ve visited several times. They’re always coming up with awesome new stuff, and they can also sling all of the classics with ease. This particular cocktail was created by David Slape and is named after the hotel where Oscar Wilde spent his later years.
Rosemary’s a unique ingredient. It can be overwhelming and turn a drink too far toward the savory side of things (although not as easily as basil, which will quickly make a drink taste like pizza if you’re not very careful). Used well, though, it adds a real je ne sais quoi to a cocktail.
The key is to muddle gently and not for too long, lest your beverage end up tasting like floor cleaner. This cocktail does not taste like floor cleaner … it has an intriguing pine note, without the other flavors getting overwhelmed.
You can get a perfectly nice wooden muddler that will last half your life for about fifteen bucks on Amazon.com (here’s a good one). Your muddler should be made of wood, slightly rounded on the bottom, and non-lacquered. Metal/plastic muddlers and ones with little teeth just don’t work as well, and lacquered ones leave little bits of varnish in your drinks over time. If you don’t have a muddler, the handle of a wooden spoon works pretty well.
- 2 oz. Irish Whiskey (The recipe calls for Bushmills)
- .5 oz. Curacao (Slape suggests Cointreau. I had Pierre Ferrand available)
- .5 oz. Benedictine
- 1 Sprig Rosemary
Rinse and dry rosemary and split it in half. Add the bottom half to a pint glass along with the curacao and Benedictine, and muddle gently. Add whiskey and ice, and stir thoroughly. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with the top half of the rosemary.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts.