Cocktails often make use of bright colors to entice onlookers from across the room, while also providing insight into its flavor profile. That's precisely why sending a traditional Queens Park Swizzle out from the bar on a hot day can result in the entire room suddenly requesting the colorful, ice-filled drink. At times, bartenders enjoy tricking the senses by using this feature to their advantage, exposing us to flavor combinations seldom seen, like Scotch and tequila.
For this week's Manhattan Cocktail Classic in NYC, the discreet, yet popular Murray Hill fixture Middle Branch, a part of the Petraske cocktail bar family, will host an interactive tasting exploring the "color of flavor," featuring St. George's new eau-de-vie spirits to take guests through a wide range of perplexing drinks. The catch: drinkers are blindfolded so as not to give away any impressions before the first sip. One of those cocktails is the Celtic Guey, a complex invention that Middle Branch partner and industry veteran Lucinda Sterling built to weave a multitude of flavors, including Cutty Sark's surly new Prohibition Edition Whisky, tropical notes from Espolon's Resposado tequila, cinnamon and fruit from St. George's Spiced Pear Liqueur, lemon and orange citrus, smoked orange bitters and aromatics from the mint.
Similar to a punch, the drink is a spirit-forward, yet refreshing experience. If you closed your eyes, you might feel the Scotch hit first, quickly followed by enough complimentary and opposing flavors that confusion would almost certainly ensue (along with enjoyment). Sterling noted part of her inspiration behind the drink was to show the reach of Scotch beyond cocktails that are built largely for men and encourage the industry to "broaden its appeal" — pun intended. Whether you make it to this week's MCC event or not, I'd encourage cooling off with new concoctions like the Celtic Guey when the opportunity arises, though be prepared to have your eyes opened.
- 3/4 ounce Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Whisky
- 3/4 ounce Espolon Tequila Reposado
- 1 ounce St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon
- 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 2 dashes Cocktail Punk smoked orange bitters
- Combine ingredients into a tall Collins glass filled with crushed ice.
- Use a swizzle stick to blend from the bottom up.
- Add additional fresh crushed ice on top of the blended drink, pack down tightly and garnish with mint spring, brandied cherry and a straw.
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