The origins of the ‘Presbyterian’ raises an intriguing characteristic of this cocktail. The term is derived from the Greek word ‘Prebuteros’, meaning ‘ancient’ or ‘old’, and believed to have featured in the New Testament over 70 times. Its roots get traced to Scotland back in the late 1890s. The cocktail owes its epithet and implied austerity to the Presbyterian church-- a unique connection between scotch and the church!
Initially a non-alcoholic beverage, the Presbyterian emerged more as a feminine drink of choice. In the 50s and 60s, men preferred to drink scotch neat. Now there is an alternate way of savouring it with the Presbyterian. Most cocktails involve umpteen ingredients. The presence of only three here makes this favourable for many. The addition of whisky has not only tamed the seriousness of scotch, but also enhanced it in a refreshing way, making it more of a casual drink. This simple scotch cocktail tastes unexpectedly delicious with blended or bourbon whiskies. Though using scotch whisky is believed to be the more traditional way to savour it, the use of bourbon especially unearths its crisp taste and smoothness. It holds up better even when diluted with soda.
Mix your own Presbyterian
Measure 2 oz. of your favourite whisky into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top it up with club soda and ginger ale in equal parts. Give it a quick stir. Add a twist of the lemon rind as a gorgeous garnish.
Around the late 90s, Manhattan was gaining prominence as a “drinks wasteland.” With little variety, the art of making and inventing cocktails had taken a backseat. A Cosmopolitan was as sophisticated as it could get before the Appletini came along. In a time when men dominated the scene behind the bar, a woman made her way to the forefront and revolutionised the art of making craft cocktails.
This is not a cocktail in the true sense of the word, but a much needed creation all the same. It is the traditional Indian-style ‘chai’ or tea— served piping hot, sweet and milky, and infused with fragrant spices. In this case, it is spiked with a boozy doze of whiskey.