And just as the morning gave us a delicacy from France for our national food holiday, the evening gives us a delicacy from Scotland. What else but scotch? Another liquor holiday that brings out the Scottish in all of us, National Scotch Day celebrates a drink that is just not kidding around when it comes to quality. Technically a whisky, scotch is simply whisky produced in Scotland rather than Ireland (which is the only kind of whisky that can add the “e” at the end). Produced since the 15th century, scotch has some very distinct legal definitions: it must be made with Scottish malted barley; aged at least three years in Scottish oak barrels; and contain a minimum strength of 80 proof by volume to be considered real “scotch.” It also contains no additives or flavorings; you won’t be finding a whipped cream-flavored scotch any time soon. Scotch isn’t just for someone who wants a casual drink: tonight, you have to know what you’re getting into when you order scotch on the rocks. Prepare for a libatious experience that can only come from the hardcore dedication to liquor from the Scots.
But even the staunchest scotch aficionado knows that not everyone can take the strong, hard liquor straight, or even with ice. (You will never hear the words “scotch on the rocks” out of my mouth, no sir.) So where’s someone gotta go to get a good scotch cocktail in New York City? Unsurprisingly, where everything else trendly is popping up recently: North Williamsburg. The Hotel Delmano isn’t really a hotel, but it’s just as accommodating as a comfortable yet utterly capable bar and lounge. Their cocktails here don’t have to live up to the expectations of Manhattanites so they can get a bit more inventive with what they try, especially when it comes to scotch. Try the “Smoke & Flowers” here, a cocktail made with Ardberg single malt scotch, St. Germain elderberry flower liqueur, sherry, and dry vermouth. The roughness of the single malt scotch is evened out by the sherry and vermouth, and complemented by the floral notes of the St. Germain. The “Smoke & Flowers” definitely lives up to its name. What would you think the Scots would do if they discovered we Brooklynites were putting their precious scotch into cocktails that tasted like flowers? 😛
82 Berry St (between 9th St & 8th St), North Williamsburg
“Hotel Delmano doesn’t have as much cocktail snob cred as places like Dram or Maison Premiere, but man, they make some great drinks here. One of the best is Smoke & Flowers, a mix of Ardberg single malt Scotch, sherry, dry vermouth, and St. Germain, served neat in a classic Champagne coupe. Ask for it by name.”–NY Eater
“What is the perfect balance to smoke in cocktails? At the Hotel Delmano in Brooklyn, flowers is the answer mixologist Sam Anderson would exclaim. The “Smoke & Flowers” is a creative expression of Ardbeg single malt scotch whisky, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, sherry, and dry vermouth. The combination works, and satisfies those who may not be so into smokey ingredients.”–CBS New York
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The drink menus were unique and rare. Even spotted sherries from Jeres/Xeres where is a region of Spain and the sherry is originated. They also had Portos from Portugal. We had some cocktails which were excellent. I had ‘Smoke and Flowers’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’. Bravo~!! for both. The smoke and flowers delivers the smokiness so well that it tasted like smoked salmon without the fishiness and saltiness.”–Sarah W.
“I tried the Smoke & Flowers — which includes St. Germain (my favorite liqueur forever) and single malt — and tastes exactly as it sounds. And since some Yelpers mentioned the absinthe fountain — well, I couldn’t pass up that up now, could I. I like that this place makes it into a production; if I’m going to drink absinthe, I might as well do it correctly.”–Anna T.
You don’t have to look farther in Brooklyn for another great scotch whisky drink: just head a few blocks south of the Hotel Delmano to Dram, a small yet inviting bar that makes marvels of a mixed drink. Try their medicine-inspired Penicillin, which includes single malt scotch, lemon juice, and honey-ginger syrup, giving the distinct feeling that you’re drinking what a century ago would have been a cure-all tonic. And actually, all of those ingredients–even the liquor, to an extent–have been found to help soothe a sore throat, so if you’re feeling the sting of summer allergies, this may actually make you feel a lot better! (And, I mean, even if the lemon juice and honey-ginger syrup don’t, the scotch definitely will.)
177 S 4th St (between Driggs Ave & Bedford Ave), South Williamsburg
“If you’re sick but also want to drink a cocktail, head to Dram and order a Penicillin. This classic drink is made with single malt Scotch, lemon juice, and honey-ginger syrup, served over ice. One or two of these will make you feel better; three or more will make you feel worse.”–NY Eater
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The Penicillin. They didn’t invent it but it’s currently my favorite drink on the planet and this version is beyond reproach (including candied ginger garnish). Get one immediately if you have even a passing interest in single malt, ginger, or citrus.”–Adam C.
“The big plus for them is that they had my favorite drink, the Penicillin I will definitely be going back there for that! I hear that their drink list changes too. I did like that the drink list I got wasn’t too long. I can’t stand having t read through a book to find a cocktail. I know variety is great, but it just makes the business seem indecisive to me. Pick what’s best and stick with it. Fortunately, Dram does this.”–Alexandra M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!