Smoke on the Water

Greetings fellow home mixologists and welcome to my first post as a full time contributor to Bitter Sweet Spirit! Like you, and the (handsome) members of BSS, I have a great appreciation for cocktails and good company. The consumption of a finely mixed cocktail is fun and all, but the overall experience is lifted tenfold when you’re telling friends/bartenders/random strangers just how much you’re enjoying it.

With that said, pull up a mental bar stool and humour me as I jabber on about this tasty little gem I put together.

This being my first post, I wanted to craft a drink that included my favourite Scotch Whisky, Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Yes, you read that right – the Scottish spelling of Whisky does not include an “e”. Laphroaig’s bold and intense smoky notes are lovely when drinking it neat, however when incorporating into a whisky (or whiskey – ok, I’ll stop) based cocktail, it adds a beautiful level of complexity that upgrade both the tasting and nosing profiles.

Following the template of the classic Penicillin cocktail, this booze-forward concoction features sweet and herbaceous notes, which are wonderfully balanced by the gentle perfume of peat smoke.


2 oz Blended Whiskey (I used Toki Japanese blended Whiskey)
¼ oz Peated Islay Whisky (I used Laphroaig Quarter Cask)
¾ oz Grapefruit Juice
¾ oz Honey and Cardamom syrup (See recipe below)

Rinse a coupe with the peated whiskey and put aside (your room will likely smell like a campfire at this point). Combine the remaining ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Double strain into your peaty perfumed coupe and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

The pairing of honey and grapefruit compliment the peppery sweetness of a good blended Whiskey, which are further leveled up by the strong and complex peat flavours of the Islay Whisky.  

Honey and Cardamom Syrup

½ cup of Honey
½ cup of water
5 lightly crushed cardamom pods

Add all ingredients into a pot and stir over medium-high heat. At first sign of a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer syrup into a clean bottle or mason jar and refrigerate. It should keep for about two weeks.

The name ‘Smoke On The Water’ was coined by the smoky medicinal notes that are so deliciously present in most Islay Scotch Whiskies, and, of course, by that badass tune by Deep Purple which I’m sure is now playing on repeat in your head. You’re welcome!

Like that song, this drink will hit you right in the feels and keep you humming its tune for days.


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