This week we feature a highball that is virtually unknown by most people, yet it is the foundation upon which many popular drinks are based. Our drink of the week is the Mamie Taylor, a Scotch cocktail with lime and ginger beer. According to Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted “Doctor Cocktail” Haigh, the Mamie Taylor was named after a Broadway singer and appeared around the turn of the last century, but within a few years it fell completely out of fashion. In 1900, it was the most popular cocktail of it's day, and more than a century later, few people have ever heard of it—or Miss Taylor for that matter. Yet this drink has led to many variations that we do remember.
2 oz Scotch Whisky
.75 oz lime juice
1 oz ginger syrup
3 oz soda (to top)
Add the Scotch, fresh lime juice and ginger syrup to a highball or Collins glass with ice. Top with sparkling water. Stir to mix and garnish with a lime wedge.
The cocktail is normally made using ginger beer, so you can always substitute that for the syrup and soda. But here's another opportunity to use the ginger syrup you made (or have been meaning to make). I find that having the syrup on hand is so much more convenient than bottles of good ginger beer. Ginger syrup stores easier with less space, it can be mixed according to your taste, and it's better than most commercial brands. Of course, you do need sparkling water, but that's what the soda syphon is for, doubling as an ingredient for many other drinks.
You probably recognize the formula: spirit, lime, ginger beer. It's the basis of the Moscow Mule, the Dark and Stormy, and even the Diablo. Here we have it with Scotch, and it's really quite good. I am surprised this drink hasn't made a big return with the popularity of Scotch these days. Maybe people want to drink their single-malts neat. I am all for that, but sometimes you want something cool and effervescent, and this fits the bill. Even a bold, smokey Scotch works, but you do need to have good ginger beer—one that's strong spicy. Again, why haven't you made ginger syrup yet?