After picking up the Death & Co. cocktail book, which is one of the finest modern mixology codex’s, I have been dying to give their Banks of Islay cocktail a try. The list of ingredients made me raise an eyebrow and one in particular, fresh curry leaves, wasn’t the easiest to track down. Here’s the recipe:
- 6 Fresh Curry Leaves
- 1.5 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
- .75 oz Lime Juice
- .50 oz Cane Sugar Syrup
- 1 Tsp Grenadine
In a shaker, muddle five of the curry leaves then add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with the remaining curry leaf.
As you can see we didn’t have any Laphroaig 10 year on hand so we substituted with their Quarter Cask and we used some pre-made grenadine rather than making out own, but the resulting cocktail was still quite incredible. When you look at all of the ingredients you’ve got smoky [Laphroaig], sweet [grenadine / simple syrup], sour / tart [lime], and spicy / savory [curry] and I was rather dumbfounded how all of these would work together in a cocktail.
Upon first sip you definitely get the single malt’s characteristic smokiness, the tart lime juice opens up your tongue to the grenadine’s pomegranate sweetness which plays beautifully with the curry’s spice and savor. The finish gives you a bit of the curry’s bitterness, but it’s largely sweet and mouth coating which leaves you with a bright warm feeling; and a thirst for the next sip.
This is a deep and complex drink and not something I would introduce a new whiskey drinker to, nor do I think it’s an all night cocktail. What it is, is an expert assemblage of ingredients and a drink to be appreciated by someone wanting to drink off the beaten path and see what true mixology is all about.