It’s weekend – woo hoo! Although today is Saturday, it is already the end of the weekend for us. Here in Dubai, Friday is the holy day so most people are off on Fridays and Saturdays (other companies set their weekend as Thursday and Friday, sometimes just Friday).
Scotch has Fridays and Saturdays off and as a special treat for him this weekend, and also for today’s inaugural week recipe, I have concocted a Ginger and Scotch Chilli Martini.
I had my first ever chilli martini a few months ago at Okku, in the Monarch Hotel, Dubai and it has forever burned into my taste memory. (Burned! Ha Ha, I just realized I made a pun 🙂 ) I just loved the cooling taste of the fresh cucumbers combined with the sweetness of the pineapple, lychee, and passion fruit juices. And then came the final lingering subtle heat of the chilli that just tingled my mouth – and before I could even wonder if a martini was supposed to do that to my tongue – I was hooked.
That night at Okku, I kept grilling the bartender for the recipe ingredients – each time he added a fruit or a juice to the muddling glass, I would point and ask, “What’s that?!” I even convinced random strangers around me to order the cocktail just so I could watch the barman make the drink over and over again, all the while taking notes on my iPhone. If the lighting in the bar had been better, I would’ve had a video!
Using my notes from the chilli martini night, I set about creating something similar but with ginger and scotch. Martinis are normally made with gin or vodka but there are some that use whisky, like the Rob Roy:
First appearing in New York City around 1890, the Rob Roy is a cocktail similar to a Manhattan. The drink is named for the Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor.
The Rob Roy is made with Scotch whisky, while the Manhattan is traditionally made with rye and today commonly made with bourbon or Canadian whisky.
I experimented with using both fresh and canned pineapple and both are equally good – the canned pineapples tend to sweeten the cocktail more than the fresh ones due to the sugar syrup that’s used in the canning process. The ginger adds another level of spiciness to this drink and the whisky with ginger ale go great together.
Wee Scotch accidentally knocked over the filled martini glass and ended up getting whisky all over him (left photo). To cheer him up, I let him hold the martini glass (center photo). He tried to drink it but I told him, “Not ’til you’re 21,” so he gave me sad face (right photo).
- 1.5 oz (45 ml) Scotch whisky
- 5 oz (150 ml) ginger ale
- ½ cup pineapple, cut into small chunks
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
- 2-3 chilli slices
- 1 small piece of sliced ginger
- 1-2 chilli slices
- Chill martini glass by putting it in the fridge or fill with ice. Cut ginger into matchstick size.
- In a mixing glass, add the pineapple, ginger, and chillis and mash with a muddler or wooden spoon. Make sure to thoroughly mash the ginger and chillis into the pineapple to extract all the flavors. I didn’t have a muddler and my wooden spoon wasn’t smashing the pineapples well enough so I ended up used a mortar and pestle. Give the muddled juice a taste and adjust for spiciness to your liking (ie more ginger or more chillis).
- Add whisky and ginger ale and stir well or use a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass – use a fine sieve so all the ginger and pineapple bits don’t end up in your glass. Garnish with sliced ginger and sliced chilli if desired. I thought the martini was perfect but Scotch asked for more whisky in his (of course).
- Sip slowly, drink responsibly, and enjoy!