Many homemakers keep a well-stocked liquor cabinet as a matter of routine, for properly entertaining guests. However, you might have no idea how to properly mix a drink with all those bottles in your personal mini bar -- including that bottle of scotch that’s labeled without the letter "e" on whiskey. That's the proper spelling for scotch whisky, as this is the way it's been spelled in Scotland for centuries. What to mix with scotch can range from simple to complex, unless someone orders it "neat" -- meaning straight, no mixer.
1. Types of Scotch
Before mixing scotch into a drink, it's important to know what type of scotch you're dealing with. Scotch comes in different varieties, and not all of them are suitable for mixing. The most common types of scotch are single malt and blended. Single malt is scotch in a purer form -- the type that purists scoff at mixing with anything -- except maybe a bit of spring water or an ice cube or two. Blended scotch is the kind you want to mix in a cocktail.
2. Common Scotch Mixers
Aside from the obvious choices of water and ice, numerous ingredients make good mixers for a blended scotch whisky. Many prefer to keep it simple by adding club soda instead of water -- the famous "scotch and soda" often ordered in bars. Carbonated soft drinks such as ginger ale are also commonly used. Fruit juices, especially lemon juice and orange juice, and flavored lower proof spirits such as vermouth, bitters and sweetened liqueurs, are also used in a variety of combinations to make different cocktails.
3. Popular Scotch Cocktails
The list of cocktails made with blended scotch could fill a book -- and many exist -- but some cocktails are popular enough to warrant mention. The Scotch Tom Collins is a perennial favorite, a simple drink made with dashes of lemon juice, ice and a large measure of whisky topped off with soda water. A Scotch Whisky Sour is similar to a Tom Collins, but with a lot more lemon juice and some sugar added, for some tart pucker with a sweet kick. The Rob Roy mixes vermouth and scotch with a dash of bitters, for those who like a little more flavor and kick without too much sweetness on the palate.
4. The Hot Toddy
On chilly evenings, scotch enthusiasts like to warm up with a "Scotch Hot Toddy." The drink is made with water hot enough to dissolve a spoonful of sugar and mixed with lemon juice and scotch. Traditionally, the toddy has also been taken to help ease the symptoms of a common cold, although this is an old wives tale and is not recommended in any true medical sense. A variation of the toddy is a hot coffee-and-cream drink with scotch added, which could include either a coffee liqueur or a cream-based liqueur.
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