Penicillin is a smoky yet refreshing cocktail made with scotch, honey and citrus. It was invented in 2005 by Australian bartender Sam Ross.

Penicillin recipe

  • 6 cl blended Scotch whisky
  • 0.75 cl Lagavulin 16y whisky
  • 2.25 cl fresh lemon juice
  • 2.25 cl honey syrup
  • 2-3 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger

Muddle fresh ginger in a shaker and add the remaining ingredients, except for the Lagavulin whisky. Fill the shaker with ice and shake. Double-strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with ice. Float the Lagavulin whisky on top.

Directions for how to make the Penicillin

  1. Muddle fresh ginger in a shaker.
  2. Add the blended Scotch whisky, fresh lemon juice, and honey syrup to the shaker.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice.
  4. Shake the contents of the shaker.
  5. Double-strain the cocktail into a chilled old fashioned glass with ice.
  6. Float the Lagavulin whisky on top of the cocktail.

Tips for how to make the perfect Penicillin

  • Use fresh ginger: Grate and muddle fresh ginger for the best flavor in your Penicillin. Avoid using ginger powder or pre-made ginger syrup.
  • Shake with ice: Vigorously shake your ingredients with ice until the shaker is frosted. This will help combine ingredients and give your cocktail a smooth texture.
  • Float the float: When adding the Islay Scotch float, carefully pour it on top of the cocktail using the back of a spoon. This will help it gently rest on top for a beautiful presentation.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist: Cut a small piece of lemon peel and twist it over the top of the drink to release the oils. Rub the peel around the rim and then drop it into the glass. This will add a bright citrus aroma and flavor to the cocktail.

Alcohol-free alternative to the Penicillin

An alcohol-free alternative to the drink Penicillin could be a blend of fresh ginger juice, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice topped with soda water. This mocktail would have a zesty ginger flavor with a sweet and sour kick from the honey and lemon. The soda water would add a sparkling touch that mimics the effervescence of the cocktail. To add a smoky element similar to the scotch used in the Penicillin, a dash of liquid smoke could be added to the mix. This non-alcoholic version would be a refreshing and healthy option that still satisfies the taste buds.

Penicillin fun facts

  1. Penicillin is a whisky-based cocktail that was created by Sam Ross in 2005 at the Milk & Honey bar in New York City.
  2. The name “Penicillin” was inspired by the antibiotic drug of the same name, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
  3. The cocktail is made with two types of Scotch whisky, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup and a float of smoky Islay single malt whisky.
  4. Penicillin has been named one of the “Most Influential Cocktails of the Past Century” by Tales of the Cocktail, a prestigious cocktail festival and conference.
  5. Penicillin has spawned numerous variations and spin-offs, including the Mezcal Penicillin (which substitutes mezcal for Scotch) and the Bourbon Renewal (which substitutes bourbon for Scotch and uses crème de cassis instead of honey-ginger syrup).