This is quite the conundrum isn’t it? Is it a drink? Is it a dessert? Are those things mutually exclusive? Do we need a spoon, a straw or is this a dive right in experience? So many questions, so little information floating around in this old monkey head. Bob Seger used to sing about “workin’ on mysteries without any clues” but maybe if we poke around a bit, we can get to the bottom of things. So, with that in mind, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Southern Scotsman.
I’m gonna be honest, I did not do my research beforehand on this one. I just saw it, became enamored with the ingredients and did not go any further before I started infusing scotch, making Peach-Lemon Syrup and searching out premium Butter Pecan ice cream. It wasn’t until I had all the tools at hand that I realized this one wa a bit of a head scratcher, but we will get into that once we make it. It was created by Tuscon’s award-winning bartender Donna Francis, who ran the show at Harvest and Union Public House. She has all kinds of amazing recipes out there, but when I saw this one featured in Whiskey Advocate, I knew I had to try it.
Before we make the drink, we need to make a couple of ingredients. First up is Black Tea infused Dewar’s 12-year old Scotch. This step is a piece of cake. Place 4 ounces of that delightfully smoky 12 year old Dewar’s scotch in a cup and add 2-3 pinches of loose black tea. I went a little crazy and chose a Harney & Sons Lapsang Souchong to really lean into the smoky character of the scotch and I was not disappointed, you may want something more pedestrian, who can say. After 45 minutes or so, strain to remove the tea and set aside.
The next ingredient is Peach-Lemon Syrup. To make this one bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan while zesting the lemon into the water. Yeah, I just zested the whole thing, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith. That done, add 1 cup of sugar to the pan and stir. Next peel the lemon, discard that peel and carefully place the whole fruit in the pan, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn the heat down and add 1/2 a cup of peach jam, I used Bell Buckle Country Store Peach Jam, stir slowly to combine the jam over a low heat. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slowly, letting all those flavors mingle. When it is at room temperature strain to remove the solids and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Now that the prep work is done, grab your mixing tins and pop in 2 ounces of your Black Tea infused Dewar’s 12 Year Scotch and 1 ounce of Peach-Lemon Syrup. Add some artisanal ice cubes and shake to the beat of Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band singing “Night Moves“, to see if we can feel that thunder. When your tins are well chilled, strain over a couple of scoops of Butter Pecan ice cream, I went with Talenti Southern Butter Pecan Gelato, cause I was feeling fancy, in a rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon peel and serve.
Serving was where things got confusing. On the one hand this feels kind of like an affogato, so I wanted to pop a silver spoon in it. On the other hand, maybe a small straw would be the right thing. Still confused, I just picked it up and took a sip and it was wonderful. Everything worked together. The already smoky scotch, got a whole new level from that Lapsang Souchong and the peach lemon combo just makes it sing. As the ice cream began to melt it brought an awesome vanilla, nutty, creaminess that complemented the scotch. My wife stirred hers up, but decided that it was better when the ice cream and the drink were more side by side. I really liked it affogato style. I preferred eating my ice cream with a spoon, while taking furtive sips of the awesome cocktail it was floating in. It may be even better than espresso poured over vanilla gelato, which is saying a lot.
This one had me hung up for a moment, but we figured it out. Of course, your mileage may vary. It did feel a little odd picking up Butter Pecan at the grocery, I just don’t feel old enough for that yet. I used to go buy it for my grandparents, since it is the official ice cream flavor of the AARP set, but I don’t think I have ever bought it for myself before. Not that there is anything wrong with it. I never really understood i’s charm before, but it really is lovely. Every vanilla, caramel, pecan filled bite made me marvel at the complexity of the flavor and left me wondering why folks with dentures would punish themselves chewing frozen pecans wrapped in chilled caramel, but that is none of my concern, yet. I will have to say, that when the time comes, pouring a cocktail over your butter pecan is a gonna be a great way to slip into the loving arms of senility. Till then, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.