U.S. whiskey blends spectacularly with SA ingredients in these unique cocktails created for us by Alex Farenheim, one of the award-winning bartenders at the Speak no Evil cocktail bar in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Farenheim created Nje, Jus’Now and the Monate cocktails.
“Nje” – Just because … Who needs an excuse for a cocktail break when this delectable blend of South African naartjie juice, rooibos tea, kombucha, and sweet, complex American bourbon is waiting at the bar?
25ml naartjie juice
25ml simple yrup
25ml lemon juice
Topped with rooibos and ginger kombucha
1. Make simple syrup by mixing equal parts of sugar and water in a pot and heating until all the sugar has dissolved. Decant and allow the syrup to cool.
2. Blend the bourbon, naartjie and lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass filled with fresh ice.
3. Top up with a splash of rooibos and ginger kombucha, a slightly fizzy fermented tea and sugar health drink reputedly packed with antioxidants and probiotics. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Procrastinate deliciously with this crisp, refreshing mix of amber U.S. bourbon and uniquely South African vermouth for a new take on the Boulevardier cocktail.
25ml Caperitif Kaapse Dief
1 Blend the bourbon, Campari, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange rind.
Lose track of time over this fluffy cocktail blending garden-fresh South African fruit juices and rich, complex American bourbon.
25ml aloe juice
25ml apple syrup
30ml fresh lemon juice
3 basil leaves
Vegan egg white
1. Blend the bourbon, apple syrup, aloe juice, lemon juice and vegan fluff and mix in a cocktail shaker.
2. Pour into a stemmed cocktail glass and garnish with bruised fresh basil leaves.
Note: Vegan egg white – such as ‘aquafaba’ or chickpea water whisked to a dense foam – is a liquid egg white substitute that creates a gorgeous, foamy crown and delivers an elegant, creamy mouth feel to the cocktail. Buy a pre-packaged vegan egg white or simply drain a tin of chickpeas and whisk the liquid until it’s foamy.
Try this garden fresh, low-cal Mint julep.
4 – 5 mint sprigs
2 sugar cubes or a dash of simple syrup
1 In a glass, muddle the mint and sugar well, bruising the mint leaves, to dissolve the sugar and release the flavor of the mint.
2. Add the Bourbon. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well. Garnish with a mint sprig. For extra freshness, add a twist of lemon rind.
Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail
Add some American flair to entertaining with an Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail.
One part bourbon
Three parts apple cider
A dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Combine chilled cider, lemon juice and bourbon over ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Tip: On chilly nights around the braai, heat the apple cider with a slice of fresh ginger root, and blend with the bourbon for a spicy, warming drink garnished with a cinnamon stick. Ring in the changes with a dash of maple syrup for extra sweetness and festive flavour.
How to get the most out of American whiskey
To get the most out of American whiskeys, master distillers recommend you simply enjoy them with friends, and take time to appreciate the art that is traditional American distilling.
“There’s no ‘right way’ to drink American whiskey,” says master sistiller Dave Pickerell. “The right way to drink it is any way you like it.”
However, he does have some suggestions on ways to fully appreciate the rich, full-bodied taste and flavour complexity of American whiskeys:
• Taste the spirit neat first. ‘Nose’ it and taste it for the first time at room temperature. Look out for subtle notes of oak, tobacco, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch and fruit. American Whiskeys typically feature corn to yeast notes, along with subtle caramel and vanilla notes from the barrel. Bourbons tend to be slightly sweeter and Rye Whiskeys tend to be spicier.
• After that, add a few drops of water or an ice cube to see how the taste changes. How you should drink it depends entirely on your palate.
• For those who want a sweeter, yet equally complex and robust drink, several American distillers now also offer whiskey infused with honey, maple syrup or cherry.