Amongst British sailors, no other command carried as much weight as "Splice the Mainbrace!". The order to "splice the mainbrace" instructed sailors to carry out the most difficult task at sea. When the task was complete and the mainbrace was spliced, the sailors would be rewarded with an extra ration of rum. The term came to be used for any occasion where a special tot was due. At Supply & Advise, we've appropriated this custom: a team member may shout "Splice the Mainbrace" and call for a round of drinks after a particularly demanding day. In this on-going feature, local cocktail whisperer, Brian Griffiths will share some of his most bracing libations and the stories behind them.
The Firth of Forth is named for the estuary on which many of Scotland's major ports lay, including those of Edinburgh. With Scotch and Port in the recipe, the drink all but named itself. The Firth of Forth was the site of the first German bombing on the United Kingdom in World War II, where the Germans launched an unsuccessful attack on the HMS Hood and took their first aerial losses over Britain. Given the military history of the name as well as Scotch's status as a true gentleman's spirit, I felt that this cocktail was a great match for Supply & Advise.
Scotch whiskey may be the most difficult of all spirits to integrate into cocktails. A list of common Bourbon or Rye whiskey cocktails would take a notebook or two, while a list of common Scotch-based drinks could be jotted down on a cocktail napkin. That said, Scotch deserves more recognition in the cocktail world. I've taken a classic Scotch cocktail, the Santiago Scotch Plaid, and modified it to fit modern man's taste.
The Firth of Forth Cocktail:
- 2oz Blended Scotch Whiskey
- .75oz French Dry Vermouth
- 2 Dashes of Orange Bitters
- Rested 30 Days in an Oak Barrel rinsed with Ruby Port
To Prepare: Empty a bottle of Ruby Port into an oak barrel. Rotate the barrel every few days. After two weeks, empty your (now seasoned) barrel and allow yourself a few sips of port. Now combine the contents of the cocktail into the barrel and allow it to rest for 30 days.
To Serve: Pour over a large ice cube in a rocks glass, stirring only to quickly chill the drink. Garnish with an orange peel.
Tasting Notes: The barrel has not only married the ingredients into a cohesive beverage, but has also given the cocktail a beautiful dark cherry coloring. The peat of the Scotch is brightened by the aroma and touch of fruit and citrus and carries a long and evolving finish. Best when enjoyed by the sea.
Please enjoy your Firth responsibly.
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