Cocktails with scotch as the base spirit don't get a ton of play around the house. Rinses and accents sure, a little goes a long way there. There are some exceptions like the Bobby Burns, The End of the Road (though at equal parts I guess that one doesn't have a base spirit), and the Penicillin but usually though, at least around here, scotch gets enjoyed in a glass by itself. 

The Scottish Play is one of those handful of scotch-heavy drinks that I make every now and then. The base here is Laphroaig, known for being ridiculously smoky, peaty, medicinal ('band-aid like' is a frequent descriptor) and other words delicious, provided that's your thing. Here, that scotch is paired with Cynar, Aperol and Drambuie. There's a healthy amount of Cynar and Aperol (their combined quantity is greater than that of the whisky) which is understandable given the assertive nature of Laphroaig. Aperol sweetens a bit and interacts nicely with Cynar by lightening the weight of that amaro while playing off of its bitter qualities. The flavors start off together - rich, dark, bitter, sweet but by the end they begin to separate pleasantly. Among these extroverts the Drambuie, at 1/8 oz, was difficult for me to pick out. As an accent, I imagine it's contributing a little body and tying into the scotch as well as the drink's sweeter qualities. Not surprisingly, the scotch lingers throughout the finish. The bitter herbal qualities of Cynar however, do get their moment before making way for Aperol which briefly contributes a light, sweet quality. Then it's back to the scotch which maintains a presence long after the glass has returned to the table.


Scottish Play - Aaron Butler, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, MA
1 3/4 oz Laphroaig
1 1/4 oz Cynar
1 oz Aperol
1/8 oz Drambuie
Garnish - Orange Peel, express and discard

Stir, Strain, Down