Humphreys Restaurant's SOS
2241 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego
For a cocktail on Humphreys’ newly revised drink menu, bar manager Austin McAdams uses as a base liquor a perfect 15-year-old scotch.
But before serious scotch drinkers storm Humphreys with broadsword and targe, McAdams asks that you give him a hearing — and his drink, the SOS (Save Our Scotch), a tasting.
Acknowledging the potential for scandal, McAdams admits that his preference is to mix his scotch “with only a small splash of water, but it’s nice to change up the routine every once in a while.”
The SOS’s other ingredients, McAdams insists, help the cocktail live up to its name — after all, the drink is not exactly full of peach schnapps and little umbrellas.
“The Chartreuse and Carpano play well together with the Glenfiddich,” McAdams says. “They all deserve to share the same glass.”
Keeping the whole sophisticated whizzbang working, McAdams says, the Carpano vermouth humbles these proud parts into an effective alliance.
“The sweet vermouth helps fuse the scotch and Chartreuse,” he says. “Without it, you’d be able to pinpoint the two ingredients; but the vermouth melds everything together to give the cocktail its own identity.”
And by adding loudmouthed Chartreuse to the mix, McAdams makes the SOS a triple-dare worth considering.
“Chartreuse takes a delicate balance when mixing because it can be very overpowering,” he says. “The yellow Chartreuse is more forgiving than the green and works well with the Glenfiddich. Both have notes of honey; they harmonize beautifully.”
While honey offers redemption, McAdams says, other flavors also provide their own sort of atonement to the sip.
“You’ll catch a subtle whiff of anise from the cherries and lemon oil from the garnish,” he says, noting that another flavor left him wide-eyed when he first tried the SOS. “When it hits your lips, you will taste the dark fruits and spice from the scotch and vermouth, almost coffee-like in taste. Then the taste shifts to a sweet and sour honey flavor, punctuated with a subtle orange zing from the bitters.”
How to Make It
1½ oz. Glenfiddich 15-year-old scotch
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. yellow Chartreuse
1 dash of orange bitters
Combine ingredients in cocktail tin with ice. Stir until chilled but not too watered down (20–30 seconds). Strain into rocks glass. Sink absinthe-soaked cherry. Wipe glass rim with lemon-peel garnish.