Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gentleman's Companion Day 13 - The Athol Brose

I am nearing the end of my two week journey into the world of Charles H. Baker, Jr. cocktails. There are still many great cocktails to sample. So I am ending with two classics. For Day 13, I am mixing up a Scottish classic called the Athol Brose.

Mr. Baker documents three types of Athol Brose drinks. He writes of the drink, "an odd Scottish institution which, like many things Scottish, is founded on mighty good reason, & is guaranteed to profit its user." The ingredients and proportions are nearly identical in all three versions, the only difference being preparation and service. Athol Brose No I, he instructs to mix well, warm slightly to make smooth." This can be achieved by dry shaking first and then adding ice and shaking. This version is served up.

The Athol Brose No II needs one "heaping" tsp of strained honey versus one part, 4 jiggers (6 oz of Scotch), pored into a tumbler (or two), then fill tumbler with heated milk. Cool before serving. This seems like it would be a good winter night's potation. Maybe spiked with a bit of Drambuie.

The third iteration of the Athol Brose is a carbon copy of the second but advocates a 1/2 part strained honey. I imagine it is imbibed like egg nog or a winter punch, so I would used a small glass.

Mr. Baker specifies using "ancient scotch" but I think a decent blend like Famous Grouse works quite well. I have had the Number One at several reputable cocktail establishments so I went with that recipe.


1 part Really old Scotch (I used 2 oz of my standard blend, Famous Grouse)
1 part strained honey (I used honey syrup)
1 part heavy cream

Method: Dry shake, then shake rigorously over ice, then double strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish necessary.

I enjoy the layering of flavors in the Athol Brose. First you get the creamy honey of the thick head on the drink. Then the scotch's peaty and robust taste. It goes down fast and should be imbibed as a night cap or right before a meal.

Where to get this cocktail? I recently had a expertly made Athol Brose at Milk & Honey in New York.

- Fredo

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