THE Penicillin Cocktail Recipe
Honey ginger syrup and fresh lemon juice lighten blended Scotch for a fortifying, belly-warming Penicillin Cocktail with Islay Scotch floated on top.
The Penicillin Cocktail Recipe is one of my favorites from my Cocktails recipes.
The Penicillin Cocktail
Honey, ginger, and belly-warming blended Scotch all combine in one harmonious, home-cure-inspired cocktail known as the Penicillin.
Topped with a woodsmoke, medicinally-aromatic layer of Islay Scotch (pronounced eye-la), the Penicillin Cocktail might be the next drink you reach for on a rough day, over a hot toddy.
What’s in a Penicillin Cocktail?
The secret to making the perfect penicillin cocktail is gently floating the very last ingredient—Islay Scotch.
This ingredient creates a medicinal-inspired layer of Scotch that’s the “spoonful” of medicine that’s “taken” before you get to the sweet and comforting honey ginger concoction beneath.
- Blended Scotch
- Lemon juice
- Honey ginger syrup
- Islay Scotch floated on top
Penicillin Cocktail History
The Penicillin Cocktail was invented in 2005 by Sam Ross, a bartender at the popular New York-based bar Milk & Honey.  
But why is it named Penicillin Cocktail?
If you know about the drug penicillin, you know that it was discovered by Alexander Fleming and his student, Cecil George Paine, to be effective against bacterial infection.
The Penicillin Cocktail’s name indicates that it might have a kind of curative effect on those feeling ill.
Think of it this way: when some folks feel a cold coming on, they make a hot toddy drink to soothe their sore throats and warm their bellies.
Whereas some might make this Penicillin Cocktail…
- as the honey ginger syrup is thought to be restorative and throat-soothing,
- the Islay Scotch tastes and smells like medicine while warming your belly on a cold night,
- and the lemon juice is packed with Vitamin C.
Meanwhile, Sam Ross created the Penicillin Cocktail as a twist on the Gold Rush cocktail with Scotch.
How to Make a Penicillin Cocktail
To make a penicillin cocktail, start by checking your bar cart or bar fridge—do you have honey ginger syrup or honey syrup available?
If you have honey syrup, pour ¾ oz into the rocks glass and muddle it with a few slices of fresh ginger—this will serve as your honey ginger syrup.
Next, add blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey ginger syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake until well mixed.
Now, fill the rocks glass with ice. Then, pour the Penicillin Cocktail mixture over the ice.
Next, use a spoon to float the Islay Scotch over the cocktail.
Do this by pouring the Islay Scotch gently over the back of the spoon—creating a floating layer of Islay on the Penicillin cocktail.
Lastly, garnish with a stainless steel skewer with candied ginger and a lemon peel.
Now, enjoy the unique Penicillin cocktail!
More Cocktails We Love
- How to Make a Greyhound Drink
- Cadillac Margarita
- French Gimlet or the original Gimlet Cocktail Recipe
- Dirty Martini
- Coffee Martini
- Bee’s Knees Cocktail
Tools You Need
Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoying another cocktail recipe adventure with me. Make this Penicillin Cocktail, then share a pic on Instagram or Facebook, tagging me at @beamingbaker and #beamingbaker. I can’t wait!
‘Til our next shaken, not stirred adventure…
Sending you all my love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter ❤️Print
THE Penicillin Cocktail Recipe
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
Honey ginger syrup and fresh lemon juice lighten blended Scotch for a fortifying, belly-warming Penicillin Cocktail with Islay Scotch floated.
- 2 oz blended Scotch
- ¾ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ ounce honey ginger syrup* or
- ¾ ounce honey syrup*
- 3 slices fresh ginger*
- ¼ oz Islay Scotch
- Candied ginger
- Lemon peel
- Add blended Scotch, lemon juice, and honey ginger syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until very well mixed and chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Pour Islay Scotch over the back of a spoon onto the cocktail to float it.
- Garnish with candied ginger and a lemon peel or lemon wedge.
*If you only have honey syrup, muddle the ginger into your rocks glass. Then, follow the rest of the recipe as instructed.
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: Drinks, Cocktails
- Method: No Cook, Chill
More Drink Recipes
- To quench your thirst… Cucumber Mint Water
- Gibson Drink
- Extra Dirty Martini
- Irish Mule Recipe
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