On December 5, in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, a dozen of America’s best bartenders gathered for a commemoration at the iconic Clover Club, slinging drinks for guests dressed in bowler hats and fringed dresses. It had been 89 years since the end of Prohibition, that thirteen-year-long misguided experiment — and people were ready to celebrate.
Though Repeal Day is certainly a worthy reason to let the good times roll, the event also signified another noteworthy moment in history: the introduction of the new Dewar’s 12 Year Old.
Dewar’s, the iconic whisky brand, has been around since the 1800s and features a meticulous blend made of forty single malt and grain whiskies aged in a variety of casks. But, as with all masters of the craft, there comes a time when boundaries must be pushed and definitions expanded.
Meet Dewar’s 12 Year Old
12 Year Old has been reimagined by master blender Stephanie Macleod and maintains the same liquid profile as before, but what has changed is how the whisky matures. It is now double-aged in hand-selected, first-fill American oak bourbon casks. This unique cask finishing results in an incredible breadth and depth of flavor, unctuous and chewy, with an ultimate smoothness in the finish.
“We wanted to take Dewar’s 12 Year to the next level and bring the joys of quality Scotch whisky to a new generation of drinkers,” says Macleod.
Complex and sophisticated enough to drink neat, or with a single ice cube, the attainable $29.99 price point makes it ideal for use in cocktails. If today’s modern drinkers are no longer interested in a no-frills Scotch-and-soda Highball, the new Dewar’s 12 Year is perfect for more sophisticated, elevated cocktails, much like those made at Clover Club’s Repeal Day party.
Aromatically, you’re hit with an orchard of red apples, ripe peaches, and just a hint of bright lemon zest. The palate leans more floral with a lush, fruity character, though it remains balanced with spicy notes of white pepper and clove. On the finish, a slight sweetness, and more robust notes of butterscotch, vanilla, and just a wisp of smoke.
“This new expression of Dewar’s 12 Year Old is the epitome of what a high quality, pleasurable, and indulgent Scotch whisky can be,” says Brian Cox, vice president of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, North America.
The New Era of Scotch Cocktails
Indeed, a dozen bartenders tasked with pushing the limits of a whisky cocktail certainly understood the assignment. Mauricio Santana of Clover Club offered White Winter, an intriguing combination of Dewar’s 12 Year, white vermouth, pineapple liqueur, and Strega, an Italian bitter liqueur, while Josh Harris presented Fiscal Agent, adding Martini & Rossi Rubino, Chartreuse, Maraschino, and cacao tincture to Dewar’s 12 Year Old. Other bartenders went even more indulgent, satiating their sweet tooth.
“The Dewar’s 12 Year Old has these really great toffee and dark chocolate notes,” says Qwesha Byrd of Jojo’s Beloved in Atlanta. “That’s what convinced me, ‘Hey, this would be really good in a dessert cocktail.’”
Her Thicc With 2 Cs celebrates the tradition of enjoying fine Scotch after a meal alongside coffee and dessert. Byrd lightly infused the Dewar’s 12 Year Old with coffee beans before shaking it alongside coconut milk, coconut liqueur, and Amaro Averna, a dark and bitter Sicilian liqueur. “It’s a really great introductory whiskey,” she says of Dewar’s 12 Year Old, perfect for drinkers who have long been scared to dip their toes into the category. “This isn’t the Scotch you think it is.”
Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler found it ideal for the cooler season as well. His Sweater Weather matched Dewar’s 12 Year Old with apple juice, Averna, and allspice dram, pulling out the red apple and spice flavors in the Scotch. “Rather than competing with those flavors, I ran into them head-on and embraced the spirit of the season,” he says. “And I think Scotch just pairs so well with apple cider.”
But that’s not to say that there weren’t also Scotch Highballs, just ones of the more baroque variety. Double Chicken Please’s Ben Yabrow whipped up Banana Nut Highballs, which combined coffee butter fat-washed Dewar’s 12 Year Old with Amontillado sherry before topping the drink with a housemade banana soda. Mister Paradise’s Will Wyatt created Two-Way Petting Zoo, utilizing Dewar’s 12 Year Old topped with a homemade roasted buckwheat soda.
“Dewar’s 12 Year Old has a range of aromas and flavors that allows you to be innovative while creating with it because it gives so much depth and dimension,” says Christine Wiseman, the beverage director for Bar Lab Hospitality Group, who also opted for a Highball.
For her Dry But Honest, she wanted to amplify the spirit’s aromas of honey and floral notes by pairing it with housemade chamomile honey; likewise, she wanted to match its fruitier essence with a peach soda. “I love the challenge of creating delicious cocktails with Dewar’s 12 Year Old and changing the perception that Scotch does not require being sipped neat or with just a drop of water.”
Its friendly price and versatile profile make it a wonderful choice for consumers hoping to up their own cocktail game at home. Dewar’s 12 Year is available now in select states — make sure you preorder your bottle now so you can try a few of the recipes below.
Thicc With 2 Cs
- 1 ounce coffee-infused Dewar’s 12 Year Old*
- 1 ounce coconut milk
- ½ ounce Kalani Coconut Liqueur
- ¼ ounce Amaro Averna
- dash saline
- barspoon of powdered sugar
- coffee beans, for garnish
- Dang Foods Coconut Chips, for garnish
- Add ingredients to a cocktail tin with ice and shake.
- Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
- Garnish with coconut chips and coffee beans.
* Coffee-infused Dewar’s 12 Year Old recipe
- 25 ½ ounces Dewar’s 12 Year Old
- ½ ounce coffee beans
- Combine in a vacuum-sealed bag and sous vide for 15 minutes.
- 1 ½ ounces Dewar’s 12 Year Old
- 1 ½ ounces fresh apple juice
- ½ ounce Amaro Averna
- 1 teaspoon allspice dram
- Orange twist, for garnish
- Add ingredients to a cocktail tin and shake with cracked ice.
- Serve over fresh ice in an old-fashioned glass.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
Dry But Honest
- 2 ounces Dewar’s 12 Year Old
- ½ ounce Martini Ambrato
- ¼ ounce chamomile honey*
- London Essence White Peach & Jasmine Crafted Soda
- lemon twist, for garnish
- Add all ingredients but soda to a Collins glass with ice and stir.
- Top with soda.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Chamomile honey recipe
- 35 ounces honey
- 17 ounces water
- ¼ ounce chamomile
- Combine honey and water and slowly heat to combine.
- Add chamomile and let steep for 15 minutes, then strain out.
This article is sponsored by Dewar’s.