The Drink: Scotch Cocktails for a Hot Summer’s Day

The Drink:  Scotch Cocktails for a Hot Summer’s Day
Scotch in Summer:  The Mamie Taylor and Cameron’s Kick

By Dappered Drinks Correspondent and Official Bartender Michael Bowers

Scotch isn’t the first thing you’d think of when you’re looking for something to take the edge off on a hot summer afternoon.  And if sipping on a single malt served neat were the only way to drink scotch, you’d be right to leave it to the other seasons.  To the contrary, cocktails made with scotch abound, and range from dark and brooding mixtures best sipped in a cardigan near a crackling hearth, to refreshing tipples more suited to swimsuits and charcoal smoldering in grill.  The Mamie Taylor­—created for and named after a popular opera singer in 1898—and the Cameron’s Kick—from London circa 1930—are two time-tested examples of the latter.

The Cameron’s Kick is a trainwreck on paper: two types of whiskey jumbled in with some lemon juice and orgeat—an almond syrup scented with orange blossoms.  Somehow though, a strange alchemy takes over and creates a refreshing and unbelievably delicious beverage.  The Mamie Taylor, on the other hand, is about as straightforward as a cocktail can get—a no frills mix of booze, citrus and ginger ale.  It is traditionally made with lime juice, but I prefer it with lemon.  Use whatever you have on hand.

As for ingredients, use a blended scotch you wouldn’t mind drinking on its own.  Ballantines, Dewar’s White Label or Famous Grouse would all be fine, easy to find choices.  Citrus juice should always be fresh squeezed. Orgeat is probably not sitting on the shelf at your corner grocery, but can usually be found anywhere that sells coffee syrups.  For the ginger ale, look for a brand with the self-respect to use real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup and you won’t go wrong.

Mamie Taylor
  • 2 oz scotch
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 3-4 oz ginger ale.

Pour scotch and citrus juice into a tall glass filled with ice.
Top with ginger ale and stir gently to incorporate.

Cameron’s Kick
  • 1 oz Blended Scotch
  • 1 oz Irish whiskey (or omit and use 2 oz of Scotch. It’s not traditional, but still tastes great)
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz orgeat

Shake.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  A strip of orange peel squeezed over the top of the drink and dropped in makes a nice addition, but isn’t necessary.

About our Bartender – Michael Bowers is the Head Bartender at the Modern Hotel and Bar in Boise, Idaho.  His patrons know him for the uncanny precision with which he tends his bar.  Michael’s cocktails have been noted by, among others, Food and Wine, Sunset Magazine, and the New York Times.