The Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, a beautiful Islay that is unapologetic in its presentation of itself. Assertive spiced smoke meats intertwine with a musty green earth to present a true representation of Islay whisky. At 58.1% abv this is the scotch that “puts hair on your chest,” the pungent campfire that you either love or you hate. For myself, it’s a love that burns as passionately as the peat itself.
The Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength is the peated whisky for peat lovers. Non chill filtered and sporting an impressive abv this whisky is for the Islay purist. As mentioned before the palate brings with it an impressive amount of spiced smoke and subtle citrus, while meshing with the brine of musty greens. For me this is about damn near perfection given its wide availability and stomachable price point for a 10 year cask strength.
I set out this year to teach myself to be a better home cocktail maker, because lets be honest, bars are f****** expensive. When you think of whiskey cocktails most people immediately associate them with the american bourbons and ryes, which completely makes sense. They have approachable and almost universally loved flavor profiles of baking spices and honey, and they mix well with literally almost anything. However, I am slowly finding that scotch makes the cocktail that we all deserve, but as Benjamin Parker said, “with great power come great responsibility.” The reason I say that is scotch is going to range from your soft citrus floral Speysides that could easily disappear in a cocktail to your smoke bombs from Islay that can just swallow up your cocktail. I will address your soft and florals another day, as today we are talking mixology with the Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength.
From Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails is “Pete’s Word” (pictured above)
.75 ounce Laphroaig 10 year
.75 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
.75 ounce Green Chartreuse
.75 ounce Lime Juice
Shaken with ice and strained into a coupe.
Why it works:
The Chartreuse and Laphroaig are both assertive palates in their own right, so at first you may see this cocktail as being a power struggle of flavors, but the lime works magic in taming the peat and the sweetness of the Luxardo smooths the bitter herbals of the Chartreuse. Through this the cocktail finds an equilibrium of complexity in the glass. What I really love about this cocktail is it awakens the Laphroaig and brightens it into a really refreshing cocktail!
The following recipe is a homemade one entitled “Pipe Tobacco”
.75 ounce Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength
.75 ounce East India Solera Sherry
.75 ounce Creme de Cocoa
1 Egg White
Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and give it a good hard shake for 30 seconds, strain out the ice using a fine mesh strainer back into the shaker, dry shake vigorously for about a minute, and then fine mesh strain it into a coupe to get the thick 1/2 inch head on it.
Why it works:
Firstly the creaminess of the egg tones down the sharp oak and spice you get from the cask strength. Chocolate and peated scotch is just an amazing and natural pairing that adds a bitter quality that battles to tame the peat on the palate. The East India Solera Sherry is a sweet Oloroso, so it layers on flavors of nuts and red fruits that provides a sweetness to smooth out the bitterness and smoke of the drink. The “Pipe Tobacco” is a decadent drink that changes the profile of the peat that allows it to shine, but introduces a variant profile that may be more approachable for someone that isn’t crazy about straight peated whiskies.
I am a fervent believer and preacher that peated scotches can and should be used in cocktails. Firstly, using them means you don’t have to buy some expensive smoke gun to make “smoked” cocktails and, *hint hint* that is all smoke and mirrors because that smoke gun doesn’t do anything really for the flavor and most likely there is a peated scotch or mezcal in the cocktail anyways. Lastly, behind the peat of Islay scotches there are a world of intricate and nuanced flavors that when combined with the right accompaniments will create a complexity in the glass that will blow you away. Just know that these cocktails are certainly not for the faint of heart and if that’s not your jam then may I suggest a Moscow Mule…
As always though, keep true to your scotch roots, pay homage to the Usice na Beatha, and pour yourself a glencairn neat of the Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength, because this scotch is that good.
What are your thoughts on scotch in cocktails? Do you have a favorite scotch for mixing, and a favorite recipe? Be sure to comment below!