Irish whiskey as a category has been expanding for years. While there are some stalwarts that have been building its reputation, a new breed of distillers have been emerging. By 2020, the number of distilleries making Irish whiskey will have almost quadrupled since their low of four in 2013. With all of these new spirits on the market, we are going to need to find new ways to use these expressions. Not just in new cocktails, but at new times of the year. Discovering one of the new offerings on the market, The Sexton, it was decided to make a few cocktails for Valentine’s Day. Just to change up from all the champagne people will be drinking that day.
The Sexton is a single malt Irish whiskey that is aged for four years in Oloroso sherry casks. The fact it was aged in sherry casks is something that always catches my interest when I can find it. Sherry, especially oloroso, adds some great depth when it is added to a cocktail or aged into a spirit. The nose offers hints of sweetness, with some honey, chocolate, toffee, and berries when you breathe it in. The rich nuttiness, on top of the toffee, chocolate, and light fruitiness you get when you taste it. All of these flavors happily fit well into ones that are typically associated with the holiday.
It is that richness and those light chocolate and toffee flavors that I started to play with when thinking about cocktails to make with this spirit. Since the theme was Valentine’s Day, playing with those sweeter notes sounded like an interesting way to consider using the spirit. I started with something rich, choclately, and with a hint of fruit. Much like The Sexton itself.
A Cordial Irishman
1.5 oz. Sexton Irish Whiskey
1 oz. heavy cream
1 oz. dark creme de cacao
.5 oz. ROOT23 Cherry Almond Simple Syrup (other cherry liqueurs work as well)
Garnish: Dusting of nutmeg
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake very well for 20 - 30 seconds. Strain into the cocktail glass. Microplane the nutmeg over the cocktail and serve.
It is smooth, silky, and a great way to end a meal. Based off a Brandy Alexander, the chocolate and the cherry come through like a cordial. The sherry notes boost the fruit and nuttiness for extra depth in the cocktail. It was enjoyed by everyone who tasted it, and many more were made.
Wild Irish Rose
2 oz. Sexton Irish Whiskey
1 oz. lime juice
.5 oz. homemade grenadine
Garnish: Lime wedge
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake very well for 20 - 30 seconds. Strain into the cocktail glass. Place the lime wedge on the end of the glass and serve.
This is much fruitier and bolder than the Cordial. Bright in color and flavor, it is a very different expression of the whiskey. There are still some notes of the honey and fruit coming through in the cocktail. More of a fruiter dessert cocktail or something to wake up the palate at the beginning of the meal.
1 oz. Sexton Irish Whiskey
.5 oz, brown sugar simple syrup
3 - 4 oz. hot coffee
Garnish: Whipped cream
Pour the simple syrup, Irish whiskey, and coffee into the coffee glass. Stir well, then top with the whipped cream.
This is a classic, and another great way to finish a meal. The warmth of the whiskey and the brown sugar are a natural pairing, and the Sexton goes well within it. It adds another layer of flavor, making an already crowd-pleasing cocktail even better.
Champagne and chocolates are great gifts for the day, but there are many other options out there. Picking up a bottle of The Sexton and crafting some cocktails with it, adding it to classics or experimenting with it on your own, is a lovely way to mix it up. If cocktails arenot your thing, it is just as delightful on the rocks, with all those flavors opening up with the addition of water. Enjoy experimenting with this new addition to the Irish whiskey shelf!