Burns Night is rapidly approaching (January 25th) and since we don’t really go into the food aspect of bars here on SpiritsandCocktails.com, there won’t be any recipes for haggis. What we will discuss however, are scotch based libations, focusing on a recent creation of mine.
Continuing with our heavily-bittered, magic-worded cocktails of late, I present for you our first concoction, the Pax Sax Sarax. Like the Zim Zala Bim and the Alabazam before it, this is yet another fantastically complex cocktail that uses a boat-load of bitters to good effect.
According to The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies and Magic, the magic phrase Pax Sax Sarax was found in an Elizabethan manuscript in the British Museum, and was purportedly used to prolong orgasm. It was also used to “prevent a person from firing a gun while you are looking into the barrel” according to Albertus Magnus, Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural Egyptian Secrets or White and Black Art for Man and Beast, so as you can see, this is a potent concoction indeed!
Call up Penn and Teller so you can dazzle them with the magic behind the:
PAX SAX SARAX
2 oz Glenmorangie single malt
1/4 oz Peychaud’s bitters
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
stir all ingredients with ice
rinse cocktail glass with absinthe
strain into a cocktail glass
garnish with 3 brandied cherries
UPDATE: It became apparent today, as I served this libation to guests at my bar, that it is imperative that one not only garnishes this cocktail with the cherries, but that the guest knows that this is part of the experience. The cherries make this cocktail. Ensure that you don’t eat them all at the beginning or at the end, but rather space them out throughout the drinking experience.
While these latest concoctions may have a ton of bitters in them, I want to point out that these aren’t extremely bitter drinks. The bitters that I have used aren’t overly bitter by themselves, especially in the case of Peychaud’s which has a pleasant, sweet anise-y finish. One should also keep in mind that I am balancing the bitters with an equal portion of liqueur in both the Zim Zala Bim and the Pax Sax Sarax. The reason why this drink was pretty much a no-brainer for me (the proportions were bang on in its very first incarnation) is as simple as this: licorice and cherry are natural flavour pairings for scotch. The key for this drink was to pick a scotch that was neither too peaty or barrel influenced. Glenmorangie seemed like the obvious, readily available option for this drink, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint.
This is a drink for scotch drinkers, and despite the outrageous quantity of Peychaud’s bitters present, the scotch still makes its authority known. The bitters, cherry and absinthe flavours all work with the scotch, instead of against, and while I wouldn’t suggest this drink to a scotch neophyte, I would probably put it in my top three drinks to give an experienced scotch palate, along with the:
1 ½ oz Famous Grouse
¾ oz sweet vermouth
1/8 oz Benedictine
dash of Peychaud’s bitters
stir all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
your choice of lemon twist or cherry garnish (both work well)
2 oz Famous Grouse
½ oz ginger liqueur
½ oz amaro Nonino
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with lemon twist.
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