Jerrod Gardiner, head bartender at Julep whiskey bar in Westport, has a special relationship with this month’s cocktail. “I was in Nashville, helping to make cocktails for a large special event, and was presented with a bottle of Laphroaig 10.” Now if you’re unfamiliar with Laphroaig 10 Year Single Malt Scotch, well—let’s just say people love it or they don’t. In Gardiner’s own words, “I was like, oh my god how am I going to make this approachable to a couple hundred people?” He wanted to take an Islay scotch that was too aggressive for him and use it in a cocktail that he and everyone would love. “I went tiki” says Gardiner, “a bunch of fresh fruit and fat sprigs of mint.”
The recipe evolved over time to include Toki Japanese whiskey, and based on its popularity at Julep, the customers love it as well. I have some standard questions when I interview bartenders for this column, including “does this cocktail have a historical precedent? Is it a classic?” Gardiner’s answer: “It is of no historical value—it pairs well with a lawn chair and umbrella.”
That’s possibly my favorite answer of all time. I hope this cocktail will become one of your summertime favorites, too.
The Floating Island
1 banana purée (or you can muddle a quarter of a ripe banana in the bottom of a shaker)
1/4 oz. Laphroaig 10 Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
1 oz. Toki Japanese Whiskey
4 drops Elemakule Tiki Bitters
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. lime juice
A few hefty sprigs of mint
1 lawn chair (optional)
1 large umbrella (optional)
In a shaker, muddle the ¼ banana (or use banana puree). Add the Laphroaig, Toki, bitters, simple syrup, and juices. Shake violently. Express the mint (in fancy mixologist lingo that means squeeze it over the glass and rub it around the rim) over a Collins glass, fill it with ice, strain in the mixture and place the “expressed” mint next to the straw for a garnish. Serve with a lawn chair and umbrella (optional).