Drambuie really needs to learn how to play nice. This Scotch-based liqueur, flavored with herbs and honey, is, in my estimation, one of the loveliest creations among the many bottles on the back bar. The liqueur is quite pleasant on its own, but perhaps due to the natural surliness of Scotch, or maybe the deep, layered richness of the flavors, Drambuie just doesn’t get along that well with other spirits. Sure, there are exceptions — the Rusty Nail, the Bobby Burns (both of which marry Scotch with a Scotch-based liqueur, so those are easy), and one of my favorites, the Gansevoort Fizz — but for the most part Drambuie is just too individualistic to play nice in a cocktail.
The Jabberwocky is a fourth drink to add to this list. The recipe was shared with me by Chad Solomon, the uber-talented bartender at Pegu Club in NYC who created it, basing the mix on one other decent Drambuie-containing drink, the Mackinnon Fizz. Pairing Drambuie with the assertive juniper flavor found in Tanqueray, and sharpening it with both lemon and lime juices, the Jabberwocky has a touch of absurdist, barely restrained wildness about it — much like Drambuie’s Scotch base, and the drink’s namesake poem. And yes, the brand of the gin matters — many gentler gins would fold when confronted with Drambuie’s irascible flavor, but Tanqueray has a stiff juniper backbone that keeps its identity in a complex mixture such as this one. While in a cocktail glass this drink might still be too rough, with knobby elbows and bits of spiky brambles poking above the rim, the Jabberwocky works well when tamed with sparkling water — a little effervescence and a touch of dilution to keep it from being too serious. Just keep an eye out for the Jubjub bird and the frumious Bandersnatch.
- 1 1/2 ounces Tanqueray gin
- 1 ounce Drambuie
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass; top with club soda.