Originally published in Unfiltered #71
Lachlan Watt from Melbourne Partner Bar, Whisky & Alement, shares his SMWS winter cocktail creations with us — and even shows you how to make a truly peculiar and mouthwatering one at home, Adam Ioannidis writes.
Whisky & Alement is a bit of an SMWS beacon, an outpost for the Australian branch. Stocking over 250 SMWS bottles you’d be hard-pressed not to find something to your liking. But beyond the knowledgeable and passionate staff behind the bar, Bar Manager Lachlan Watt is also an experienced mixologist, and, with the country settling into the middle of winter (I dare say on the south-east coast we’re feeling it a touch more than the rest) I thought it would be prudent to approach Lachie about concocting some elaborate and (most importantly) delicious SMWS winter whisky cocktails. Unsurprisingly, he did not disappoint.
Lachie has been working in bars for the better part of eight years, starting at a small hotel bar for six months before moving onto ‘The Kilburn’ in Hawthorn, a little whisky bar where his manager thrust him into the mixology game and expanded his understanding of whisky; it was here that Lachie first discovered The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Not long after and Lachie met the Bar Manager at Nieuw Amsterdam in the Melbourne CBD who he describes as “one of the most talented and inspired bartenders I have ever met”; Lachie’s affinity and talent for creating his own liqueurs, and understanding the right balance and extraction of flavour, came from this encounter.
“After working at the Kilburn for two years, I got a job at Whisky & Alement where my relationship to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and my excitement for fun and exciting drinks using top-notch booze grew stronger. After a short while, I took over the entire cocktail list and started having as much fun as I could, creating a series of small-batch liqueurs and amaro. I have now been at Whisky & Alement for the greater part of six years, and having the best time sharing incredible whisky, cocktails, beer and chats with our incredible community.”
The winter concoctions
The plan was to create two SMWS winter cocktails — one that could be replicated at home for members and friends to enjoy at their leisure (as well as ordered at the bar), and the second to be a bar-exclusive, enjoyed only at Whisky & Alement and mixed by the creator himself; the bar-exclusive utilises one of Lachie’s famous in-house liqueurs, establishing it as a true bar-exclusive cocktail. Let’s begin with the first cocktail, aptly named — Hot Buttered Saké.
Hot Buttered Saké
- 30ml 93.161 Dirty Martinis On A Yacht
- 90ml Savoury Junmai Saké
- 5ml 2:1 Honey Syrup
- 10g slice of miso butter
How to make the 2:1 honey syrup:
- 500 grams of honey
- 250 grams of boiling water
- Mix until the honey completely dissolves and refrigerate (lasts about 1 month in the fridge).
How to make the Miso Butter:
- 250 grams of Australian unsalted butter
- 3 heaped teaspoons of white miso
- 1 heaped teaspoon of red miso
- At room temperature, gently whip the butter and miso until fully integrated, spoon on a sheet of cling wrap and roll into a sausage of about 3cm diameter, and refrigerate. If you need to re-form it after some time in the fridge, do so. Can be stored indefinitely in the freezer.
- Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass/container
- Heat until the butter melts
- Serve in a mug with a small sheet of nori (sushi seaweed sheet)
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “this is the cocktail we can replicate at home?!” — but it’s true, all the ingredients you can easily purchase at your local supermarket, there’s just a bit of exciting pre-prep involved. This is a perfect SMWS winter cocktail because it’s so different and we do like challenging ideals and notions! So, why did Lachie pick this cocktail?
“This was a cocktail I had in the back of my mind for some time, a mulled sake inspired by miso soup, savoury and heartwarming, but boozy, so when I was approached about making some wintery drinks for Unfiltered, this jumped forward and came to life.”
“Spirit from this distillery is salty, high in minerality, with slight smoke, which lends itself to this drink perfectly. Paired with a savoury Junmai Saké, I used Mii no Kotobuki Biden Hojo Junmai Saké, which was perfect for what I needed. The next challenge was working out the best ratio of butter to miso, and the ratio of miso styles. The best ratio was 3:1 white miso to red miso, which led to a rich and nutty base with a savoury edge. Enjoy making this at home, pairs well with a nice cheese plate.”
Head to our socials for a quick walkthrough on how to mix the Hot Buttered Saké cocktail yourself.
Dark & Tawny
- 40ml 107.24 Oven-Ready Moomin
- 20ml Seppeltsfield 10-year-old Tawny
- 20ml House Made Fig Liqueur
- 3 drops of absinthe
- 2.5ml 2:1 sugar syrup
Stir down over ice and serve in a Nick & Nora glass with candied ginger.
This cocktail was inspired by two key factors: Melbourne and the selected SMWS whisky, Cask 107.24 Oven-Ready Moomin: an 8-year-old Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits whisky aged in a 1st fill ex-sherry butt. Lachie wanted something deep, rich, sweet, and warming — something that you could sit down and really enjoy for a time — and after much sampling, the honey-forward and dried fruit characteristics of distillery 107s spirit character really lent themselves to the qualities of the planned cocktail.
“There’s nothing more Melbourne than a fig tree in an alleyway somewhere.”
The secret ingredient to this cocktail is the house-made fig liqueur — one of Lachie’s own concoctions that he has been fermenting for some time; this is where the Melbourne influence comes into the cocktail as “there’s nothing more Melbourne than a fig tree in an alleyway somewhere — especially hanging over a fence”. Finished off with a local tawny, small touches of absinthe and 2:1 sugar syrup, and garnished with candied ginger, the Dark & Tawny is certainly a ‘sipper’ that’s worth enjoying on a cold Melbourne evening at Whisky & Alement.
Are you interested in learning more about the Dark & Tawny? Head to our YouTube channel to watch Lachie mix one at the bar.
A huge shoutout to Lachlan Watt from Whisky & Alement for concocting these cocktails — if you’re in the area, drop by the bar at 270 Russell St, Melbourne, 3000; open 4pm – 1am Wednesday – Saturday and 4pm – 11pm on Sundays, and request either of these cocktails for a warming and delicious experience!
Unfiltered Magazine is The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s premium whisky knowledge magazine delivering quality content exclusively to members in an immersive multimedia format monthly. To view Unfiltered #60 in its entirety (as well as all other issues), log in and access the members’ portal or join The SMWS today — the world’s most colourful whisky club.