101 Best New Cocktails: Kirkwall Kelpie by Phil Barlow, The Seamstress, New York, NY, USA

by Gaz Regan · Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 · 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2015

Kirkwall Kelpie

Phil Barlow, The Seamstress, New York, NY, USA

“About the drink itself, the brief was to create a cocktail containing Highland Park Dark Origins and maple syrup . . . [and] I thought the addition of saline solution would cut through the sweetness and dry the cocktail out.

“The salt water element led me to think of coastal stories and myths. Kirkwall is the coastal town where Highland Park is made, and the kelpie is a Scottish water spirit which assumes the appearance of a horse when on land. It is a mythical story which would be told to children to keep them away from water. It was said that if you touched a kelpie you would become stuck to it and it would then drag you into the water and drown you. A dark story to match the Dark Origins.

“Recently, there have been two statues erected in my home town of Falkirk of the Kelpies, which I suppose is where the thinking came from.” Phil Barlow

Kirkwall Kelpie45 ml (1.5 oz) Highland Park Dark Origins scotch whisky

22.5 ml (.75 oz) oloroso or amontillado sherry*

7.5 ml (.25 oz) maple syrup

2 dashes chocolate bitters

3 drops saline solution (5:1)

Baby’s breath, as garnish

Stir over ice and strain into a small old-fashioned glass. Add the garnish.

*This drink works well with both oloroso and amontillado sherries, though the creator favors the drier bottling and gaz likes the oloroso version best. Try ‘em both, why doncha?

gaz sez: This drink came to me by way of perhaps the best press kit I’ve ever seen. It contained every ingredient in the drink, a very handsome mixing glass, a strainer, and a barspoon. There was a nifty little booklet that told me a little about the drink, about Phil Barlow, and of course, about Highland Park Dark Origins scotch. I made the cocktail within ten minutes of opening the package. It’s just fabulous.

There was no baby’s breath in the press kit since, of course, there was a good chance it wouldn’t have survived the trip, so I had to go without this delightful garnish when I first sampled the drink. An orange twist works well if you’re in the same boat.

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