Sweeter and lighter than Champagne, prosecco makes an ideal candidate for summer cocktail mixing. When paired with a smooth single malt whisky, it's a match made in cocktail heaven. For my new favorite summer cocktail, I like to use Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, which is a single malt Japanese whisky made primarily of corn, and whatever prosecco I have on-hand.
The name of this whisky has nothing to do with coffee - rather, it's named for a type of still invented by Aneas Coffey, which is used to make this golden spirit. The Coffey Still is a type of continuous still that can pump out grain whisky without having to alternate batches. Due to it's more efficient and cheaper production cost, grain whisky has taken on a bit of a bad rap and instead often serves as the base for more popular blended whiskies throughout the world.
Leave it to the Japanese to vastly improve patent still distillation (a.k.a. Coffey Still) and make a mellow, smooth, and complex whisky layered with hints of caramel, vanilla, and an herbaceous, spicy note that brings some pop on the finish. Mixing it with prosecco's delicate fizz allows this beautifully refined Japanese whisky's character to emerge more clearly. A coating of honey at the bottom enhances Nikka Coffey Malt’s oaky, slightly honeyed character. Garnished with a bit of lemon zest, turns this drink into the perfect summer cocktail, but like potato chips, it's next to impossible to just have one - preferably near a body of water or nonchalantly kicked back on your porch with a good book in hand.
The Lakeside - Serves One
1 measure (1.5 oz) of Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
1 tsp honey
4 oz prosecco
1. In a champagne flute or coupe, swirl and swish whisky and honey together until the honey is somewhat dissolved.
2. Top with prosecco.
3. Garnish with lemon zest.