The Story Behind The Penicillin

There are no antibiotics in this drink, but it’s a pretty fail-safe remedy for the winter blues. An incredibly flavorful, Scotch-based cocktail, the Penicillin manages to be both boozy and refreshing. Fresh lemon and ginger provide pleasing bite, while honey adds smoothness.

In addition to the blended Scotch base, a float of Islay Scotch finishes things off. The Penicillin may not be a household name yet, but if its ranking on the list of the globe’s most popular cocktails is a testament to its fame, it’s bound to become one soon. Now, read more about the rest of the world’s top 50 cocktails.


  • 2 ounces blended Scotch, such as Monkey Shoulder or Famous Grouse
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce honey simple syrup
  • 4 nickel-sized slices of ginger
  • ¼ ounce smoky Islay Scotch


  1. Put ginger slices and honey syrup in the base of a shaker and gently muddle.
  2. Combine other ingredients (except Islay Scotch) and shake with ice.
  3. Double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  4. Float the Islay Scotch over the top of the drink by pouring it over a bar spoon for even distribution.
  5. Garnish with candied ginger on a cocktail pick.

Rate This Recipe:

(114 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 203
Updated: 2024-04-23

The Penicillin Recipe

Penicillin Variations To Try:

  • R&D’s Hot Oaxacan Penicillin - This Hot Oaxacan Penicillin contains classic components of both the Hot Toddy and the Penicillin, with ginger, honey, lemon, and hot water.
  • Grapefruit Penicillin - The grapefruit brings some seasonal flavor to this cocktail, adding a winter element. This is a great cocktail for a pre-dinner cocktail hour to get your appetite going.
  • The Smoky Tea Penicillin - For this twist on a Penicillin, cocktail columnist Natalie Migliarini uses smoky black tea from China.