The Remaining Balance

Here is the document I started almost a year ago. That became something like a ritual. When buying new single malt whisky, I eventually ended up using the whisky in this magnificent cocktail.

Now I told myself to stop and to write this post. I’m continuing with buying and drinking Scotch whisky but  I need to comprehend all my emotions and experience. And for me, the best way to do it is to write about it.

All that started when I was browsing Imbibe website. I’ve took many ideas from there, and The Remaining Balance cocktail recipe by Jason Littrell was one of them.

Imagine a mixture of Grand Marnier, two single malt whiskies, amaro and two bitters. Sophisticated bizarre mix? Not for me! My love to Scotch whisky and experimenter ‘s itch gave me no chances to leave the cocktail unnoticed.

Well, here is the recipe.

The Remaining Balance

  • 30 ml Grand Marnier,
  • 25 ml sweeter single-malt whisky,
  • 25 ml Islay-style single-malt whisky,
  • 2 dashes Amaro Ramazotti,
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters,
  • 1 dash Fee Bros. grapefruit bitters.

Stir all ingredients, strain into chilled glass and garnish with lemon twist.

I was forced to adapt the recipe slightly.

First, I uses only Scotches, no Japanese whisky. Highland as sweeter whisky and Islay as peat one.

Second, in the some cases I substituted Campari for Amaro Ramazotti. Take one dash Campari instead of two dashes Amaro Ramazotti if you’re out of the latter.

Third, I used my homemade grapefruit bitters instead of Fee Bros. grapefruit bitters.

Fourth, I used lemon twist very carefully squeezing a little amount of lemon zest oils.

The Remaining Balance

And as last remark, the list of used whiskies:

  • Strathisla Pure Highland Malt Scotch 12yo Whisky,
  • Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch 10yo Whisky,
  • Bowmore Legend Single Malt Scotch Whisky,
  • Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky,
  • Talisker Single Malt Scotch 10yo Whisky,
  • Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch 18yo Whisky.

For my first time I’ve selected Strathisla 12yo  и Laphroaig 10yo. That wasn’t  a perfect pair as it turned out. But it was  good enough to give me to understand how nice the cocktail can be.

Strathisla 12yo  / Laphroaig 10yo

Subtle nose of orange and lemon zest. Wood and fruit notes on the background as well as hint of smoke.

Soft whisky flavour in the sip with strong Islay smoke and peat features. Sweetness in the middle: mostly candied orange peels followed by pepper and other spices. A little bitterness on the palate.

Long burning aftertaste with oak, iodine, apples and smoke.

Laphroaig flavour proved to be too strong in this combination, and the famous smoke was excessive in the taste. This could be an advantage for Laphroaig fans as me but I have to admit that it was a bit obtrusive.

So later I’ve selected Bowmore Legend to be mixed with Strathisla whisky.

Strathisla 12yo / Bowmore Legend

Nose with strong orange and cognac aroma, cinnamon and cardamom hints, light ginger and fruit and wood background.

Another whisky start, now without smoke and peat (Hmm… maybe a little peat on the background). Velvet bitterness in the middle wrapped with complex undertones of almonds, chamomile, iodine, candy and orange zest. Nice background: cognac barrel, leather and peat.

Whisky flavour in the aftertaste (mostly Strathisla on the heavy peated Bowmore base) with light hint of tart orange zest..

Strong whisky partnership sends Grand Marnier to the back but its sweet orange flavour definitely plays a great part in the cocktail.

My third effort was a little risky. I’ve took two monsters: heavy peated Laphroaig 10yo and strong and winy Glanfarclas 105. Getting ahead of my story, I can tell that was very successful effort.

Glenfarclas 105 / Laphroaig 10yo

Sweet harmony in the nose: oranges, herbs, cherries, red grape and hint of iodine at the background.

Dry and velvet sip. Light smoke on the palate, a little peat, oak, milfoil. Subtle bitterness and light burning in the middle.

Glamour cognac flavour in the aftertaste, cacao, candied oranges, and later long dry finish of wood and spices.

Oh these monsters turn to cats in this cocktail. They work together really well. No one presses its flavour upon, Grand Marnier gently shines with orange and cognac. Fine, noble taste with awesome depth, complexity and harmony.

The next were Talisker and Laphroaig, two whiskies from Hebrides archipelago. They are both very strong (almost heavy) and have nice fruit level hidden behind the peat. In addition, Talisker looks like heavier and sweeter because of its delightful chocolate undertone.

Talisker 10yo / Laphroaig 10yo

Sweet nose: mostly candied fruits, orange, cacao.

Sip was sweet too – oranges, candy, prune. Silk mouthfeel. More energy in the middle: trinity of smoke, peat and iodine, spicy orange zest, ginger, light dryness from herbs and oak, fruits and chocolate at the background.

Magnificent aftertaste with delicious dark chocolate, cognac and orange jam.

Great! That was real pleasure. Energy, strength, richness, refined taste, perfect harmony and awesome noble finish.  This cocktail is for special evenings.

After this I began to mix all single malt whiskies I had available at that time. It was a start point to my long way in searching more good whiskies combination. This work isn’t complete now, and below is one of most impressive results of my search.

For me, Glenfiddich 18yo whisky isn’t something special. But its age gives him an edge. It brings delicacy to the flavour. In the cocktail it provided a taste with transparency and smooth passages.

Glenfiddich 18yo / Bowmore Legend

Sweet fresh nose: flowers, honey, ripe pears on the background of peat and iodine.

Bittersweet start with strong orange candies, bitter tea and leather. Peat on the palate. A moment later  dried pears, apples, orange zest appear in the front of cloves, anise and milfoil.

Bitter aftertaste of peat, honey, candies, herbs and spices.

Charming contrast of bitter and sweet sides is the main feature of this drink. The passages between these sides are very fine, preciously fine. Clear bitterness, soft sweetness, and its marriage is the taste with great transparency and delicacy.

A cocktail with special autumn feeling.

Well, that’s all. Five incarnations of one cocktail. Five characters. My five bright remembrances of the past year.

Thanks Jason Littrell for this thrilling recipe.