Part of the “modern classics” canon along with the Bramble and the Paper Plane, the Penicillin cocktail is another creation of New York’s Milk & Honey, dating back to somewhere in the vicinity of 2005. Unlike those cocktails, however, bartenders around the globe have taken the basic recipe and tweaked it this way and that way, in part owing to the vast number of Islay scotch brands that can be used to give the cocktail its trademark smokiness when applied to the otherwise finished drink as a float or a mist. (The name is likely a nod to the medicinal quality that many Islay whiskies possess.)
This version of the recipe hails from San Francisco’s Laszlo, a sister operation to the long-running Foreign Cinema restaurant, and was created in collaboration with the relaunched line of Benriach whiskies. Mixologist Daniel Burns uses Domaine de Canton liqueur for the ginger kick plus adds Meyer lemon juice and a dash of limoncello to really amp up the citrus element. In lieu of the traditional candied ginger garnish, he opts for a smoked lemon wedge, which isn’t as fun to chew on but which is much prettier in the glass.
(I cheated on these, as Laszlo sent over a few bottles of batched DWBs for us to enjoy recently. Should you find yourself in SF, they’re available to go for a limited time.)
Smoke & Whisper
1.5 oz Benriach The Original Ten
0.25 oz Domaine de Canton
0.25 oz limoncello
0.25 oz 1:1 honey syrup
0.5 oz Meyer lemon Juice
Shake and strain over a big ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with the dehydrated smoked lemon disk first and then mist Benriach The Smoky Ten over the top with an atomizer.