Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Entertaining
How Chumley’s Is Reinventing the Scotch & Soda

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The Scotch & Soda isn’t exactly known for being the most complex or sexy cocktail, but in the hands of Jessie Duré, the bar manager at New York’s recently reinvented and reopened Chumley’s, the meat-and-potatoes cocktail becomes a thing of beauty. Along with a list of seasonally-inspired cocktails, Duré includes a full chapter of Scotch & Soda variations on her drinks menu that show just how surprisingly satisfying the tried and true classic can be. These aren’t simply different scotches with soda water—these are masterful works of mixology, better than you’ve ever had them before.

Recently, the Scotch & Soda—and one could argue the Highball in general—has experienced a bit of a resurgence in popularity. Like most cocktail trends, it started in the bartender community as a way to make a high-proof spirit sessionable. “That was something that became important to bartenders because we drink for a living, and it’s not healthy to do that all day every day,” she says. “That said, there’s no reason not to imbibe and enjoy—you only live once of course.” By adopting the Highball, bartenders still got that high-proof kick of a straight spirit, with a long, hydrating pour of fizzy water.

Japan also played a part in reviving every grandfather’s favorite cocktail. There, the Highball isn’t just a drink—it’s an art form, made with good whisky, pristine ice and a serious attention to detail. And if it’s cool in Japan, it eventually makes its way overseas to the U.S.

Duré is taking the cocktail one step beyond perfect construction. She is adding small amounts of other ingredients in order to enhance the signature flavors of different scotches. “There are tons of great expressions of scotch out there that are affordable enough to put in a cocktail and minimally do things in order to accent certain flavor profiles that they have,” she says. Essentially, she’s making Scotch & Sodas even scotchier. Here, three of her incredible recipes.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall
To highlight the apple notes in the Highland Park 12 Year, Duré adds fresh Granny Smith apple juice to the mix, along with a touch of agave syrup to bring out a subtle sweetness and orange bitters. The resulting Scotch & Soda is bright, crisp and dangerously gulpable.

The Essentials

Scotch
apple juice
Club soda
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Duré enhances the smoky spice of Islay scotch by adding a touch of mastiha—an earthy, floral Greek, evergreen liqueur—and a proprietary blend of sweet vermouth and Aperitivo Select—a bitter Italian aperitif. This elegant take on a Scotch & Soda is hefty and round, with a bright, tart start and a distinctly smoky Islay finish. According to Duré, it’s a real love it or hate it cocktail. “If people don’t like it, they hate it,” she says. “But if they do like it, it’s the only thing they want to drink.”  

The Essentials

Scotch
Chumley's Sweet #1
Club soda
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
This bright but weighty drink is a play in balance. Where the Singleton whisky is light and refreshing—characteristics enhanced by the grapefruit juice—the coffee bitters and Drambuie are warming and cozy, adding a hefty layer of depth. It’s perfect for chilly days spent curled up inside, desperately yearning for the spring thaw.

The Essentials

Scotch
grapefruit
Club soda

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