I hadn't got out to Mai very much since the New Year (well, I haven't got out anywhere very much), but I caught up with owner Jeff there again last week. I was hankering for my favourite of his cocktail offerings, the Penicillin - but the dear chap had a bunch of new stuff he wanted me to try, so I didn't get around to it. The hankering grows stronger. Particularly after my recent dose of 'flu-from-hell.
Penicillin, you see, an invention of celebrated barman Sam Ross, is basically a cold toddy - Scotch whisky with honey, lemon, and ginger. Purists say you should infuse a honey-ginger syrup, but I think Jeff just uses honey and muddled ginger for simplicity. The drink is given an extra layer of sophistication by having a dribble of peaty Laphroaig floated on top (Jeff keeps the price down by using a perfume dispenser to lay a fine mist of the stuff over the top: works magnificently for the aroma, though obviously you're missing a little smokiness in the drink itself). Served with big rocks of ice and a generous slice of raw ginger (which I quite often find myself eating: I love ginger, especially when it's whisky-infused!), it is heaven in a glass - even if you haven't got a cold.