The Sultan.

Full of eastern promise. And whisky.

The Sultan.

The avid cocktailien must keep his/her eyes peeled at all times. Case study: Recently I was in my local Turkish grocer picking up my kofta supplies and while waiting my turn my eyes wandered over the shelves packed with eastern wares. Date syrup? Pomegranate juice? Orange flower water? Hang on – this is starting to sound like a recipe! I grab the lot as well as a couple of lemons – time to get to work! Given these slightly “exotic” ingredients I decide I want to approach this drink from a Tiki direction but I don’t want to use rum this time. Let’s go somewhere that Tiki has seldom dared: Scotch. Tiki is well used to blending two or more rums to create the right flavour and body balance. It strikes me as a little strange that we don’t do that with other spirits, usually relying on just a single base spirit. I love to work with smoky heavily peated Scotch single malt whisky but they can be overwhelming when used alone. Combining such a spirit with a mild blended whisky would be much like blending a a Demerara rum with a white Cuban rum – an everyday occurrence in the Tiki genre. Let’s do it. We have some strong flavours and well as citrus juice so shaking hard with crushed ice will give us a little extra dilution and maximum chillage. Keeping true to the Tiki theme is an added bonus. Even though the amounts of pomegranate juice and date syrup are small they give a wonderful deep red colour to the drink. A few drops of orange flower water floated (or sprayed) on top release a wonderful exotic aroma.

We’ll need a name. We want to connect Scotland to Turkey and also embody the rich luxuriousness of this drink. Well it turns out the “last” Sultan, Abdul Hamid II, visited Queen Victoria at Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands in 1867 – exactly 150 years ago. Jackpot – ding, ding, ding! The Sultan it is then.*

Sultan Hamid II at Balmoral in 1867.


The Sultan.

1oz / 30ml peated single malt Scotch whisky (I used Finlaggan).

1oz / 30ml mild blended whisky (I used Johnnie Walker Red Label).

0.75oz / 22.5ml fresh lemon juice.

0.5oz / 15ml date syrup†.

0.5oz /15ml pomegranate juice (100% juice, no added sugar).

Shake well with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a DOF glass or similar sized glass.

Float or spray about 6 drops of orange flower water on top.

Serve or garnish with a chunk of Turkish delight.

Toast Turkish grocers everywhere.


†Date syrup is sticky stuff. Use a small teaspoon to get all of it out of your measure and stir it in with the other ingredients prior to shaking.

*To be clear I’m not in any way suggesting that the Sultan partook of the Highland waters. The name simply reflects a link between two lands.

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