The History of the Penicillin Cocktail
The Penicillin is a recent addition to the world of mixed drinks—it was developed in 2005 as a riff on the whiskey sour by bartender Sam Ross. Ross had the idea for the Penicillin at the New York City cocktail bar Milk & Honey, and the drink’s aromatic blend of feel-good ingredients made it an instant modern classic cocktail. Bartenders have riffed on Ross’s original recipe to create variations of the recipe that use rum, tequila, or gin.
Penicillin Cocktail Recipe
Makes1 cocktail, plus honey-ginger syrup for up to 6 drinks
Prep Time5 min
Total Time40 min
Cook Time35 min
The honey-ginger syrup can be made in advance. Preserve the extra syrup in an airtight container; it can last up to a month in the fridge.
For the honey-ginger syrup:
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup water
- 3-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
For the cocktail:
- 2 ounces blended scotch
- ¾ ounces fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounces honey-ginger syrup
- Ice cubes
- 1 splash (about ¼ ounce) Islay single-malt scotch
- Optional: Candied ginger, for garnish
- Make the honey-ginger syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the honey, water, and ginger. Stir until mixed, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Allow to cool before using in cocktails.
- Pour the blended scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup, and ice into a cocktail shaker.
- Shake until chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
- Carefully pour the Islay scotch over the cocktail (this can be done by pouring the drink over the back of a bar spoon) so that it floats atop the drink. Garnish with candied ginger, if desired. Serve cold.
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