It appears to be the first day of spring and the weather, clearly, got the memo. The last day of winter was overcast, misty, cold with a wind blowing out of the north that would cut right through you. A good evening for curling up next to the fire with a hot drink, which I did, before snuggling into the covers. They say things can change overnight, and they weren’t kidding. Our winter of discontent, was made glorious Spring by this sun, presumably the same as in York. It was straight up hot today driving around with the windows down and the sunroof open. So in the spirit of keeping our cool amidst the temperature swings of outrageous fortune won’t you join me as we stand and make the Penichillin.
Believe it or not, it was just yesterday when we made the Hot Penicillin riff on Sam Ross’ modern classic Penicillin. I threatened that I might be able to make the frozen version within the week, but I sure did not expect it to be the next day. To be fair, I also did not expect to be sitting here with sunburned cheeks either, so I am a pretty poor source for prognostication, weather related or otherwise. This interesting take on the Penicillin comes to us from Diamond Reef in Brooklyn, where they, allegedly, keep slushie machines full of the stuff, which sounds like a little bit of heaven to me. I no longer own a Slush Puppie machine, so we are going to have to make do with a blender.
Luckily, I did not bother to clean up from last night’s drink, so everything was already sitting out ready to go, everything except the blender anyway, so grab that and let’s just mix this one in it. If your blender is like mine, you aren’t going to be able to hear a lot while it is running, so go ahead and crank up “Cool Change” by the Little River Band and enjoy those smooth, yacht rock ready, sounds while you measure. Pop in 2 ounces of blended scotch, I chose Dewar’s 12 Year, 3/4 of an ounce of honey ginger syrup, 3/4 of an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 drops of 18-21 Havana & Hide Bitters. Add ice, start with 1/3 of a cup and see how that works, you will have to find the right amount to get that slushie consistency depending on your ice. Give it a flash blend to get that ice broken up and check to see if you are smooth enough yet, or if it’s gonna have to get cooler. When you hit the right consistency, pour into a footed Irish Whiskey glass, yep that’s the same one from yesterday, and top with a 1/4 ounce floater of a good smoky, peaty single malt scotch, I chose Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Garnish with that same style half lemon wheel and candied ginger on a pick that we used last night, but since it’s frozen toss in a paper straw and an umbrella, for good measure.
Of course, this is awesome. Before I went on a rant yesterday, I pointed out just how adaptable the base Penicillin recipe is and I believe that even more strongly after making this frozen version. It says a lot about our weather that I could make this hot one day and frozen the next and have them both be not only apropos, but practically perfect, scratching just the right itch both times. I may make the original tomorrow, just for kicks, and science, of course.
The truth is, I did not expect this version to be all that great, kinda like yesterday with the hot one, but in both cases the drinks have far surpassed my expectations and that is awesome. I love being surprised, which I guess means I love being wrong, which is true on some level. I have spent a lot of my life working really hard to be right, to always have the right answer, even when I am just trying to figure things out as I go. After working so hard to make sure my opinions are always well-considered and trying to educate myself and my palate, it is wonderfully refreshing to miss the mark and find a nice surprise. Wonderfully refreshing, like this drink, which I look forward to making in batches as we move closer to proper summer. This is going to be fun. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.