June 1: Scotch

JohnCorI love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…” -Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

While we can’t know for sure when scotch whiskey was invented, we do know the first printed reference to that smokiest of sweet liquors. It was on this day in 1495 that the following was record in the Exchequer Rolls of Scottish King James IV: “To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae, VIII bolls of malt.” So, happy scotch day!

The Scotch Whisky Association says that scotch comes from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha, “water of life” or “aqua vitae”. John Cor was a Tironensian monk based at Lindores Abbey in Fife, where the monks were known for their skills as apothecaries and alchemists. It’s believe that Cor was a servant to the royal court, possibly serving as the court’s apothecary when he wasn’t making liquor. It’s safe to say that James IV had plenty of scotch in the years following his giving Cor eight bolls of malt, as eight bolts of malt would make the equivalent of 1,500 bottles! Today, Lindores Abbey is considered to be the birthplace of scotch.

Although there is a scotch called John Cor, there is no cocktail named in his honor. Shockingly, there isn’t even a cocktail called the Scotch Friar! So, we’ll have to drink the next best thing, a drink made with scotch that has “friar” in its name: A Monaco Friar. I found this recipe on Food & Wine magazine’s website, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what makes this particular friar a Monégasque.

Monaco Friar

  • 2 ounces Scotch
  • 1/2 ounce Bénédictine
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice in a rocks glass and stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Tomorrow: It’s a nice day for a White House wedding.


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