Recently we’ve had a spate of excellent luck around here, chiefly in the area of cocktails. Generally speaking, out of every five cocktails we try perhaps one is exceptional—more often than not, all five pass by with little to no fanfare or remembrance. It’s unusual that we find many great new cocktails with any frequency, but apparently Christmas has come a bit early to our household. We’ve had a number of eyebrow-raisingly good drinks lately, and this is one of them.
We stumbled upon this little gem in a back issue of Imbibe, resurrected from the pages of the Savoy Cocktail Book by our friend Paul Clarke via Dave Wondrich. As he points out in his own write-up, the Cameron’s Kick is a particularly accomplished red-headed stepchild. Perversely mixing two spirits well known for being a royal pain with—of all things—orgeat syrup, this drink reads like a recipe for disaster. It seems doomed to failure which Paul, like us, finds an irresistible draw. Bring us the most profanely awful recipe you can find and we’ll all be driven to make it and, perhaps, find some way to tweak it into drinkability. Surprisingly, this bizarre marriage blends all the disparate bits into a harmonious and delicious whole that we have been imbibing with regularity.
1 oz blended Scotch whisky
1 oz Irish whiskey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz orgeat syrup
Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.
So there you have it—the improbable recipe that turned out to be amazing. I wasn’t completely flabbergasted by the idea of mixing orgeat with whiskey, given that we have made Eastern Sours with reliably good results, but Scotch and Irish whisk(e)ys are a far cry from bourbon and generally not easy to mix. This cocktail, however, tames the wilder notes of its base spirits with the sweet, nutty, floral notes of the orgeat. All together the resulting cocktail is ambrosial, almost delicate, and very (very) easy to drink. Be sure to expel some oil from the orange peel onto the surface of the drink to emphasize the aromatic qualities and add a little more brightness.