The joy of mixing Irish whiskey into cocktails is steeped in decades of tradition. And yet, few of those drinks can rival the sophisticated design of a recipe like the Massey Cocktail. It is an exceptional example of the art of mixology, and one that every connoisseur of fine drinks is sure to appreciate.
The Massey Cocktail is the creation of Portland bartender Jacob Grier -a tribute to his Irish grandmother. It is a stunning mix of five top-shelf spirits, including Irish whiskey, gin, sweet vermouth, Chartreuse and Campari.
While this seems like an unusual mixture of rather bold ingredients, it works surprisingly well. When it all comes together, the harmony of flavors become an elegant taste sensation unlike anything else. Mix one up and taste it for yourself, and be sure to share it at your next dinner party.
In a mixing glass, combine all the ingredients.
- Add ice and stir vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
(Recipe from Jacob Grier)
Your Liquor Choices
The true majesty of the Massey Cocktail is the selection of spirits that Grier has chosen. Each of them is at the top of their respective classes and they combine perfectly to find a balance and give us a taste of something new and different.
It would be highly recommended to follow Grier's recipe precisely.
If, however, you feel like a little experimentation and want to substitute a few of the ingredients, there are some viable options available. Switching out the Chartreuse and Campari is impossible though, because both of these liqueurs are proprietary formulas with no reasonable replacement.
Additionally, Carpano Antica Formula is one of the best bottles of sweet vermouth on the market today. You may want to consider making this the vermouth standard for your bar if you have not already.
The Irish Whiskey
You can swap out the Irish whiskey for your personal favorite, keeping in mind that it should be comparable to Tullamore Dew. Jameson would be an obvious favorite, though the likes of Tyrconnell and Kilbeggan are fantastic options as well. If you are seeking a whiskey that is a little rarer and unique, try Green Spot or Connemara.
Bombay Sapphire is a fantastic gin and it rarely fails to make an excellent cocktail. If you are considering something different, it would be best to stick with a similar, traditional London dry gin. Beefeater may be a clear choice, though you may want to go with a brand that is a little more crafted. Consider brands like Oxley English Dry Gin, Martin Miller's Gin, or any of the offerings from Williams Chase and St. George Spirits.
How Strong Is the Massey Cocktail?
Since it is made up of five distilled spirits and no non-alcoholic mixers, it is reasonable to assume that the Massey is not a weak drink.
If we were to follow each of Grier's brand suggestions, this cocktail would be a heavyweight at a whopping 32 percent ABV (64 proof).