Will you find a new religion with this Friday’s cocktail, the Presbyterian?
This classic cocktail, once popular, is seldom on bar menus today. The ingredients are easy to come by, making this drink more accessible to cocktail connoisseurs so long as they know the recipe and proportions.
The drink’s appellation derives from the form of church governance, in which an assembly of elders or presbyters preside, that lends its name to a sect of Protestantism found in the British Isles and North America. Presbyterianism traces its origins to Scotland and to John Calvin, who first preached this form of reformed Protestantism.
There’s no apparent reason why this cocktail was given this particular name other than its presumed use of scotch whiskey, originating from the religion’s Scottish roots. The drink predates 1900, appearing around the mid-1890s. A similar drink, perhaps a variation, was created a few years later and named after the vaudevillian Mamie Taylor.
What you’ll need: Bourbon, Ginger Ale, Club Soda, and Bitters
In a collins glass over cracked or cubed ice, pour in two ounces of bourbon. Fill the glass with equal portions of ginger ale and club soda (about an ounce each), and add a dash of bitters. Stir gently and serve. No garnish necessary other than a swizzle stick or stirrer.
How I like it: Scotch, Whiskey or Bourbon? I choose bourbon. Early recipes called for scotch, but more contemporary ones generally use bourbon. A rye whiskey just wouldn’t work here. It would change the texture of the drink too much. Bourbon makes for a smooth flavor with a bit of a kick that may be pronounced with your choice of bitters. Nowadays, with different flavors, I’d suggest ginger-flavored bitters if you can find it, but if not, Angostura or similar will suffice.
Presbyters may drink, but they do so responsibly!