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Food

Tonight’s prescription: Penicillin. (Yup, as in the cocktail.)

Cocktail hacks illustration
Time for happy hour at home.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The Penicillin is a modern classic that was created by bartender Sam Ross. He makes his with single-malt and blended Scotches; in this stay-home spin, I’m calling for whatever whiskey you have. While making a syrup may seem fussy, it takes only minutes. Once you’ve got ginger-honey syrup in the fridge, you can make the nonalcoholic variations below for a dose of feel-good in any form, at any time.

Bars are closed during coronavirus restrictions, but you can make cocktails at home using basic kitchen gear to mix drinks. Read on for our tips.

Penicillin Cocktail


5 minutes. Makes 1 drink.

  • 2 ounces blended scotch or other whiskey
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce Ginger-Honey Syrup (see recipe below)

1. Combine the scotch, lemon juice and syrup in a cocktail shaker or insulated water bottle filled with ice. Put on the cap and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

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2. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube. If you happen to have single-malt scotch, pour a splash on top.

Ginger-Honey Syrup

5 minutes. Makes about ½ cup

  • ¼ cup honey
  • One piece fresh ginger (2 inches), peeled and sliced

Bring the honey, ginger and ⅓ cup water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from the heat and use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight jar for up to 5 days.

Other Honeyed Ginger Drinks


Honey Ginger-Ale


2 minutes. Makes 1 drink.

  • 1 ounce Ginger-Honey Syrup (see recipe above), plus more
  • Sparkling or soda water

Pour the syrup into an ice-filled glass and fill with soda or sparkling water. Stir well and sip. Add more syrup if you’d like.

Ginger Honey Tea


Stir a spoonful of Ginger-Honey Syrup (see recipe above) into hot water or hot tea to taste.

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With one basic rosemary and bay leaf simple syrup, you can make endless mocktails as satisfying as cocktails. Here, a yuzu spritz and a mulled juice.


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