Columbia Free Times

Penicillin Cocktail at Speakeasy

By Jonathan Sharpe
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 |
Penicillin cocktail at Speakeasy | photo by Jonathan Sharpe
what: Penicillin cocktail
cost: $6
where: Speakeasy, 711 Saluda Ave., 255-0869

Earlier this month I set out to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day, the day the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th amendment and putting an end to Prohibition. The choice was, of course, logical: Speakeasy in Five Points, where Templeton Rye brand reps were on hand (and dressed up as flappers) to offer tastings of their smooth and spicy rye. I started to order a classic rye cocktail until I saw Speakeasy manager Jonathan Ellison pull out a ginger root and start shaving it. Curious, I asked him what he was making. “Penicillin,” he said.

This salubriously named scotch-based mixed drink was originally created by craft cocktail pioneer Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York in 2008. Ellison makes his version with a demerara sugar syrup instead of honey, and garnishes it with a sprig of fresh mint, which he crushes with a ceremonious, open-handed thwack. Ellison suggests sipping the concoction through a straw from the bottom of the glass, to contrast the nose of fresh mint and smoky peatiness of the floater of Laphroaig against the sweetness of the ginger and brown sugar syrup at the bottom.

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Juice of one lemon
2 ounces Dewars blended scotch
1 tablespoon demerara simple syrup

Shake and serve on the rocks, in a rocks glass. Float with one-quarter ounce Laphroaig (or other Islay single malt scotch) and garnish with fresh mint.

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