I’ll be forever grateful to King and Mouse whisky bar in Vilnius for helping me to overcome the stigma of whisky being a hard drink for tough guys (that kind of guys from westerns or Marlboro ads). After trying some milder and less smoky varieties I started gaining some courage to sample more serious drops when having the right mood and the right company. However, I still consider whisky being a drink for certain circumstances (and the environment, which King & Mouse has to offer) and not exactly for easy Friday chill. And I have to give another credit to King & Mouse for opening my eyes about the alternative ways of consuming whisky. Just the other weekend I sampled some whisky cocktails from their monthly specials and was seriously impressed with variations, starting with lavender and finishing with caraway flavors in your glass.
That made me remember Pumpkin Old Fashioned recipe I had bookmarked ages ago and always wanted to try making.
Another weekend came by and when me and my lovely crowd of friends decided to arrange a get-together, my suggestion for the key ingredient of drinks menu was… Yes, you guessed it right – whisky!
I got my hands on creating a list of simple to prepare cocktails, which do not require much of an effort to find the ingredients and are highly enjoyable Friday drinks. So here are the recipes, slightly adjusted and modified to my liking.
Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour the whisky and top with ginger ale.
New York Cocktail
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If you prefer less intense flavors, you can use old fashioned glass filled with ice, which would dilute the drink. Garnish with the lemon twist.
Traditionally Mint Julep is prepared and served in pewter cup, but it works just as well in a tall glass. Place mint and sugar or syrup into the glass and muddle well until the sugar is dissolved and aroma of the mint is released. Add whisky. Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well. Garnish with the mint spring.
Fill a highball glass with ice, add whisky, ginger ale and coke. Squeeze some lime juice. Garnish with lime wedge.
Pumpkin Old Fashioned
Combine pumpkin puree, agave nectar, orange juice and whisky in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain through a fine mesh strainer. If you happen to have some frozen pumpkin puree like I did in my freezer, you can defrost it slightly in a microwave, then put all the ingredients in a blender (no need for ice cubes if the puree is still a bit frozen) and blend until smooth. The name of the cocktail suggests using old-fashioned glass, but I much more prefer cone-shaped cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.
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