Scotch drinks tend to be more uncommon than other, more ubiquitous whiskey-based drinks like bourbon or rye. One of the most famous, besides the Blood & Sand, is the Rusty Nail, a two-to-one combination of scotch (blended or single malt) and Drambuie, a sweet, scotch-based herbal liqueur.
The Bee Sting, from bartending veteran Jonathan Pogash, is a bit like a cross between a Rusty Nail and a scotch sour. In it, Laphroaig—a lauded single malt whisky from the storm-lashed Scottish island of Islay—is mixed with Bärenjäger, a German honey liqueur. Its name translates to Bear Hunter, as it is reportedly based on an 18th century German recipe used to lure bears (and has no relationship to Jägermeister, which means Master Hunter). Sweet, botanical and rich, Bärenjäger adds considerable complexity to the already layered scotch whisky, and pairs with it in a similar fashion as Drambuie does in the Rusty Nail.
To add even more botanicals, Pogash uses a quarter-ounce of Fernet-Branca. This Italian digestif has long been associated as a bartender’s drink, especially in San Francisco where it first caught on as a trend. Botanical, minty and bittersweet, it makes for both a great after-dinner libation as well as an ingredient in cocktails like the Bee Sting.
Rather than use the more familiar lemon or lime juice, or even orange, Pogash uses tangerine juice, which adds a nice balance of sweetness and tartness. That acidity is mellowed a bit by egg whites, which add a silky, creamy mouthfeel to the drink. If the egg whites are fresh and properly shaken (that is, a dry shake before being shaken again with ice), there should be a thick layer of white foam on top of the finished drink. A few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters add both bright aromatics as well as a lovely visual.
- 1 ounce Bärenjäger honey liqueur
- 1 ounce Laphroaig single-malt scotch
- 1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca
- 1 1/2 ounce tangerine juice
- 1 egg white
- 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Add all the Bärenjäger, Laphroaig, Fernet-Branca, egg white and tangerine juice imto a shaker and vigorously dry-shake (without ice).
Fill with ice and shake again until well-chilled.
Double-strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
Top with the bitters.
RAW EGG WARNING
Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.