Butter Scotch Sour

We’re going to take the basic recipe for one of my favourite drinks, the whisky sour, and make some tweaks to turn it into something a little more festive and dare I say, even tastier! In this reinvention, we replace the simple syrup for more flavourful maple syrup and by using some clever technique we are going to add the flavour of brown butter to our whisky. Let’s take a look at the classic recipe and see how we can use the basic ratios to create something a little bit different.

Whisky Sour
2 oz whisky
1 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
½ oz egg white

  • Add the whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker and gently swirl to combine
  • Add the egg white, place the lid on the cocktail shaker and shake to froth without ice
  • Add ice and continue shaking until well chilled
  • Strain through a hawthorne strainer and serve on the rocks or straight up.

Proportions for a whisky sour will vary to your tastes and your bartenders preference – this is my preference

For the unfamiliar, the added egg white is responsible for the texture of the drink and the smooth frothy head. This technique works particularly well with whisky because it also removes a lot of it’s harsher, astringent qualities (making these cocktails dangerously easy to knock back). Shake to combine the egg white and the other ingredients without ice to get a smoother froth. This is known as a dry shake.

When using egg whites, use fresh eggs and crack them open just before you’re going to make your drink. Save the yolks for an enriched scramble or a plate of carbonara!

Butter Scotch Sour - Whisky Sour

Using the original recipe as a starting point, we’ve made a few simple changes to tweak the flavour of this classic. Maple syrup takes the place of simple syrup quite easily. Maple is a little bit sweeter so we’ll add slightly less.

The main change we are making to the drink is the additional flavour of brown butter. To do this we are going to fat wash our booze.

What is fat washing?

Fat washing is the process of mixing alcohol with liquid fat or oil. Once mixed, they will naturally separate from one another. Carefully separating them again will produce alcohol that has a wonderful aftertaste of the fat used.

You can fat wash alcohol with a number of different fats – Olive oil, sesame oil, butter, rendered bacon fat, peanut butter etc.

We’ve opted for brown butter here to add some warmth to the drink and add some nutty, caramel flavours. Butter has the added benefit of solidifying quite easily, making the separation of the alcohol from the fat quite straightforward.

For fat washing use a ratio of 120g of fat per 750ml of alcohol
For more delicately flavoured fats like butter you can increase this to 240g / 750ml of alcohol
For the following recipe I made a few test batches of 250ml of whisky combined with 80g of brown butter

Fat washing whisky with brown butter

  • Make brown butter following the guide here.
  • Allow the brown butter to cool down without letting it solidify completely.
  • In a container with a wide opening, add 250ml of your preferred whisky.
  • Pour in 80ml of brown butter
  • Place a lid on the container and shake well to combine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes
  • Repeat the shaking again and then place the container in the freezer.
  • The brown butter will be completely solid within a few hours.
  • At this point, you can strain off the alcohol from the butter using a strainer lined with cloth.
  • Save the butter! Brown butter chocolate chip cookies with a whiskey kick? Yes please.

Use your preferred drinking whisky but don’t use anything too expensive for this process. Especially if you’re experimenting with new combinations and you’re not sure if you’ll be a fan of your first batch of peanut butter whisky. I tried this out on a smokey flavoured Islay single malt as well as a less expensive bourbon. Both were delicious but I’m a big fan of the peated flavour of Islay scotches and the brown butter finish complimented it really nicely. The flavour of the whisky is still prominent but the aftertaste is distinctly butterscotchy. The bourbon came across as sweeter and will probably be more of a crowd pleaser.

I quite like my whisky sours served straight up (without ice). I prefer not to let the drink dilute further as I’m sipping it and I don’t like the look of ice floating through the foamy white head of the drink. This is my personal preference, by all means, add ice if you prefer.

The last addition I made to the recipe is a few drops of orange bitters. The bitterness works well to complement the whisky and the sourness of the drink. By no means necessary, but it does add a touch more depth and a small bottle of angostura bitters is a welcome addition to any whisky drinkers home bar.

Butter Scotch Sour

2 oz brown butter washed whisky
1 oz lemon juice
½ oz maple syrup
½ oz egg white
3 drops orange bitters

  • Add the whiskey, lemon juice and maple syrup to a cocktail shaker and gently swirl to combine
  • Add the egg white, place the lid on the cocktail shaker and shake to froth without ice
  • Add ice and continue shaking until well chilled
  • Strain through a fine strainer and serve straight up with a few drops of bitters
Butter Scotch Sour - Whisky Sour

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