One very hot recent day, Ed Morales, sommelier at Pasadena's Langham Huntington Hotel’s post-Prohibition-era bar, the Tap Room (all dark wood and burnished copper), was struck by the chiseled ice design of the classic Nachtmann Sculpture whiskey glass sitting on the dark marble counter before him. He wanted to come up with something as cool, icy and sophisticated to fill the glass as the glass itself.
It had to have whiskey, since it was a whiskey glass, and he decided on a smoky, peaty single-malt Scotch. Walking around the hotel's Horseshoe Garden for inspiration, an exotic bird of paradise plant brought pineapple to mind. He thought the sweet flavor of the tropical fruit would marry well with the smokiness of the Scotch.
Morales picked some herbs and did some experimenting. He tried infusing simple syrup with thyme. In the end, he decided, “the Scotch speaks for itself,” having its own herbaceous character. He muddled some grilled pineapple, squeezed a lemon into the shaker and poured in some Jura Superstition Scotch whiskey (from the Scottish island of Jura), which is aged in former Bourbon casks for 10 years for a warm, honey finish.
The incredibly refreshing cocktail — chilled and not overly sweet, with just a hint of smoky sophistication — is available for $15 through October.
To accompany your Nightcap, the Tap Room offers a menu of small bites, including sliders (Kobe beef, ahi tuna, Portobello mushroom), lobster mac and cheese (with bacon, too), tacos de conchinita, shrimp tempura and pizza with pepperoni and Spanish chorizo. For a side snack that offers the same sort of sweet-savory balance as the Nightcap, we recommend the sweet potato fries (sorry, pomme frites), liberally dusted with Parmesan and served with a side of creamy garlic aioli dipping sauce (think Zankou Chicken garlic sauce garlicky).
The Nachtmann Nightcap
From: Ed Morales, The Tap Room at the Langham
2 oz. Jura Superstition
1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 grilled pineapple slice
1. In shaker, add half of the grilled pineapple disk and muddle Jura Superstition, lemon juice and simple syrup.
2. Shake with ice and strain over 2-3 ice cubes in a Nachtmann Sculpture tumbler (or fancy tumbler of your choice).
3. Garnish with other half of grilled pineapple and three pineapple leaves.
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For Grilled Pineapple Disk:
1. Take one whole pineapple, remove top and save pineapple leaves. ?Cut off both ends and outer skin and cut into ½-inch thick disk.? Grill pineapple disk on preheated grill (medium heat) for 2-5 minutes on each side until seared with grill marks on each side.