Earlier this year we chatted with Rachel Maddow (MSNBC host, swine flu survivor and cocktail aficionado) about many things, including the search for the perfect pre-prohibition Scotch drink. At the time, she told us, "Scotch is used in very few cocktails, but when it is used, it can be very effective. So I'm very interested in trying to figure out what's beyond the Blood and Sand in terms of Scotch in cocktails."

So, we called upon some of the city's best mixologists to take this Scotch challenge to task, and this past Tuesday night we all gathered at the Gonzo Room inside Aspen Restaurant after Ms. Maddow was done filming her show for the day, and, well, drank a lot of Scotch (thanks to Dalmore for their generous contribution and for the brutal Wednesday morning hangovers!). Justin Kirk from Weeds also dropped by, awkwardly showing up wearing the same sport coat as Gothamist staffer John Del Signore, nearly inciting a vicious catfight.

The mixologists on hand were Jennifer Nelson of Buttermilk Channel, Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills, Payman Bahmani of Life's a Cocktail, Yael Vengroff of Woodson & Ford and Jason Litrell of the Randolph. Alas, no winner was declared (because they were all delicious), but we stole some of their recipes from the night, which you can find after the jump.

shakermaddow.jpg Richard from Dutch Kills created a Scotch Zoom:

  • 3/4 oz. honey
  • 3/4 oz. cream
  • 2 oz. Scotch whisky

Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled coupe.

(The Fine Art Of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury, 1948)

Jennifer Nelson of Buttermilk Channel created The Deather:

  • 2 1/4 ounces Dalmore Single Highland Malt Whiskey 15 year
  • 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
  • 2 dashes Highland Heather bitters
  • Absinthe

Muddle one cube sugar and a wedge of fresh lemon with bitters. Combine with ice, Scotch and Lillet. Stir. Pour into an absinthe-rinsed martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Yael Vengroff from Woodson & Ford created what she's calling a "Jack Ward":

  • 1.5 oz. Dalmore 15
  • .5 oz. Bonded applejack
  • .5 oz. Lemon juice
  • .5 oz. Orange juice
  • .5 oz. Grenadine
  • .25 oz. Benedictine

Shake/strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe.

Jason Litrell of the Radolph created The Scottish Rite:

  • 2 oz Dalmore 15
  • 1/2 oz Oloroso Drysack Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Martini/Rossi Sweet Vermouth
  • Dash Benedictine
  • 2 dashes bittermans mole bitters

Stirred, served on a block of ice with an orange peel.

Payman Bahmani created from Life's a Cocktail and Umamimart created the Modern Cocktail No. 2:

  • 1 oz Scotch
  • 1.5 oz Sloe gin
  • 1 dash Orange bitters
  • 1 dash Absinthe
  • 1 dash Grenadine (mix 1 cup pom juice + 1 cup sugar)
Shake & strain in chilled cocktail glass.