It’s late at night, and I am writing this now because our local barn owl is keeping me up. (No, I don’t know “who”, so shaddup already!..;-) It could be worse, the owl used to scratch around on our roof while eating its prey. Very cool, but also kinda creepy.
In any event, this week’s cocktail, the Cameron’s Kick, comes from what is rapidly becoming my favorite cocktail book, the “PDT Cocktail Book” by Jim Meehan, with illustrations by Chris Gall. David Wondrich’s “Imbibe” is still my foundation for cocktails, but the “PDT Cocktail Book” almost seems to pick up where Wondrich left off. The PDT cocktail book has over 300 classic and new recipes, notes on ingredients and real insight on how to stock and manage a modern bar. It was clearly a labor of love and passion. Chris Gall’s illustrations add a whimsical touch that reminds you, that while Meehan takes his drinks seriously, cocktails should be fun.
As for the Cameron’s Kick, all I can say is that our “cocktail karma” has been very good recently, this is another drink that exceeded expectations. I was looking for a cocktail that would use up some of our liquor that was almost done, in this case some Johnny Walker Red and some Bushmills. It turns out that the Cameron’s Kick combines blended scotch, Irish whiskey, lemon juice and Orgeat syrup. In case you are scratching your head, Orgeat is the special “almond-ish” flavor in a Mai Tai- you may have some in the back of your liquor cabinet or bar right now. If not, Orgeat syrup is cheap and easy to find, go get some and then you can make Mai Tai’s as well, and who doesn’t like a Mai Tai?
Meehan’s Cameron’s Kick recipe calls for Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky, Jameson’s Irish Whiskey and Kassatly Chtaura Orgeat along with the lemon. As noted we used Johnny Red and Bushmills, along with Fee Brothers Orgeat. We also used Jameson’s in a subsequent test, and it was great, maybe a bit bolder-flavored than the Bushmills. Regardless, the drink is very unique and extremely tasty. The mix of sweet from the Orgeat, sour from the lemon and a touch of smoke from the scotch creates a balanced drink with a medium body. The lightness of the Irish whisky keeps the smokiness of the scotch in check, and keeps the Cameron’s Kick from tasting like what Carolyn would call “a brown drink”. In fact, she was thinking more toward aged tequila than whiskey as the base spirit. As you may already have blended Scotch and Irish whiskey in your bar, it is worth grabbing some Orgeat syrup and making this drink. It’s a winner, and a nice change of pace.
Finally, you may notice the cocktail glass in the picture. The glass is from an antique set of Steuben cocktail glasses Carolyn received from her late grandparents (Claire and Leonard were legendary hosts, they are missed). The glasses only hold 3-4 ounces and have no stem, but back then cocktails were made to be enjoyed cold and quick. We think it should stay that way. Steuben glass is gone now, and that is a shame. As a child, I would visit their shop in New York City every Christmas and delight in all the detailed glassware. But we still have these cocktail glasses, and use them regularly, so they provide pleasant memories for both Carolyn and I. Claire would certainly approve, and I bet she would have liked the drink.
Camerons’s Kick Cocktail:
(Adapted from the PDT Cocktail Book)
- 1 oz. Blended Scotch Whisky
- 1 oz. Irish Whiskey
- 3/4 oz. Lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. Orgeat syrup
1. Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, martini glass or coupe. No garnish is required.