Andy's usual tipple is whisky & lemonade, so when I saw that the Collective Bias Social Fabric® team was looking for someone to create some Glenfiddich cocktails as part of a sponsored shop, it sounded like a great opportunity to try and broaden his horizons a little - while sticking with a whisky base. For my part, I usually only drink whisky by itself or with ice, and would generally pick a cocktail based on something like rum or brandy - so this was going to be an experiment for both of us.
Because I was planning to dilute it, it only made sense to buy the cheapest whisky in the Glenfiddich range, the 12 year old single malt. Conveniently this is also the one that happens to be in stock in pretty much every supermarket I ever visit. This time we stocked up in Waitrose, not just with the whisky, but with an assortment of mixers and snacks.
Once we'd grabbed our shopping, we settled down for a relaxing afternoon tea in the Waitrose cafe (a spot we frequent rather more often now that they've started giving out free tea and coffee). We had hoped they'd have soup on for lunch, but we were a bit late after we'd finished the shopping so they'd run out of most of their food offerings - but being forced to eat scones is the kind of hardship I can live with. The heat outside was getting rather wearing, so it was nice to sit in an air conditioned space for a while.
Next stop: home, to experiment.
I don't have a huge amount of experience in creating cocktails, but I knew that I wanted to create something fairly sweet and fruity to maximise the chance of Andy enjoying it. He's got a very sweet tooth, so my shopping involved quite a few fizzy drinks as mixers, as well as some fresh fruit.
A little internet research on whisky cocktails turned up very little in the light-and-fruity vein, but two classics stood out: the highball (whisky and ginger ale), and the whisky sour (with lime and sugar syrup).
I'm personally of the opinion that lime and ginger is a wonderful flavour combination, and so the idea of a sour highball was born. This was my personal favourite of the three cocktails I made, and it's very simple: one shot of whisky, topped up with ginger ale, and finished with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice.
I'd bought some fresh cherries (they were half price - how could I resist?) and my next challenge was to work out how to incorporate them into a drink. In the end, I chopped the cherries in half, took the stones out, and mashed them up with the whisky, then added a small measure of orange juice and a dash of lemon. Whisky seems to go well with all manner of citrus, and it was nice to have the juicy (and whisky-infused) cherries at the bottom of the glass.
But Andy's favourite drink was my third attempt, a straightforward substitution of pink grapefruit soda for his usual lemonade mixer. This was way too sweet for me, but that just proves how different our tastes are.
We enjoyed our afternoon under the parasol in the garden, trying to keep out of the harsh sun of the unexpected heatwave. I think my brief foray into cocktail-mixing might have persuaded Andy that there's some merit in trying a wider variety of drinks, and for me, it was fun to experiment with whisky mixers.