Just when you think you have seen it all before, life will surprise you. For a moment, anyway. The closer you look though, the more you realize that so many so-called innovations are really just variations on a theme. I guess they are right when they say that the more things change, the more they stay the same and there really is nothing new under the sun. So, with a nod toward Ecclesiastes and evolution, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Sandfly.
This cocktail is based on another birthday gifted bottle, a heavily peated Islay Scotch from Bruichladdich, their excellent Port Charlotte 10 Year. I was turned on to this on by Leandro DiMonriva over at Educated Barfly who featured this particular scotch. The drink itself comes to us from the mind of Zachary Pease at Attaboy in New York. It is a riff on the Mosquito, a Sam Ross drink created for the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, which is essentially this same build only using a smoky mezcal where we are using an Islay scotch.
This is an equal parts drink so grab your tins and toss in 3/4 of an ounce each of Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Islay Scotch, ginger syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice and Campari. Add some artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Variations“, played by his brother Julian. “Variations on what?”, you ask. A theme from Paganini, obviously. No not that one, the other one. When well chilled double strain into a variation on a coupe and garnish with a long lemon string on a pick.
That’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. This one is not perfectly balanced like a good Classic Daiquiri, The Last Word or Johann Goes to Mexico; rather this one is perfectly unbalanced. It comes on a bit sweet to me, but then the smoke from the scotch just soars into a slightly bitter finish from the lemon and Campari. I want to hate it, but then I want more. Rather than working in harmony, these flavors are struggling for supremacy, each taking the stage in turn, resolving into a sort of delicate detente, waiting for the next sip. A most delightful and perplexing cocktail.
I sort of love how this one takes the standard equation and turns it on its head. Rather than working for that perfect balance, it just tosses it all in there and lets the ingredients fight it out for themselves and that really works. Maybe that is the lesson; no matter what life hands you, things work out. Sometimes you get a nice peaceful existence, sometimes you get chaos, but as long as you stick around and don’t lose heart, things will work out…eventually. I like the idea of that and I kind of hate the nihilistic randomness that it implies. So, I am just going to focus on the good side and ignore the more problematic elements of this worldview. That’s what us lost children of the last century are so good at, allegedly. As Freddie said, “nothing really matters at all.” So, keep your spirits up and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.