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Into the Wild

Thoroughbred Club bartender Jerry Massey mixes up a Clydesdale using infused Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur. Photographs by Amie Olson

February 16, 2011

Into the Wild
Bolster yourself for this weekend’s SEWE festivities with a bourbon-based, animal-themed cocktail

written by Margaret Allen

The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition’s opening reception begins at 5:30 tonight. And that means the camouflage tuxedo herd’s annual migration to the Holy City will be in full effect. Seeing that Charleston Place—host to art-related events including tomorrow’s Preview Gala and Sale—is among their popular habitats, we asked the hotel’s Thoroughbred Club to share a cocktail appropriate for enjoying during the festivities or even at home.

Longtime bartender Jerry Massey had just the thing: the Clydesdale, which “started out as a take on a Brandy Alexander,” he says. The main difference between the old standard and Massey’s revamped version is one important ingredient: Wild Turkey American Honey. This bourbon-based liqueur is one of only a few on the market, and its intensely sweet, barely there alcoholic taste is essential to the concoction. Massey is well aware of Wild Turkey’s well, wild, reputation. “Some customers are definitely thrown off by seeing the brand on the menu,” he says, “but don’t let the name scare you.”

The team at the Thoroughbred Club takes this already flavorful liqueur to the next level by adding a signature twist. “We drop a cinnamon stick and vanilla bean into each bottle and let it sit at least a week before serving,” says Massey. That way, he notes, the spices have time to infuse with the honey and create an aroma that’s unbeatable.

Want to make your own version at home? After preparing a bottle of infused liqueur, all you need is crème de cacao and half-and-half. “Using a dark crème de cacao is important,” says Massey, “but any brand will do.” If you’re feeling indulgent, he notes that ice cream could be used instead of half-and-half. “Blend in three small scoops with the liqueurs,” he says, “and it would be a perfect after-dinner treat.”

(serves 1)
2 oz. infused Wild Turkey American Honey (see recipe below)
1 oz. dark crème de cacao
1 oz. half-and-half
Freshly ground nutmeg, for garnish

Fill shaker with ice, pour in first three ingredients, and shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

For infused Wild Turkey American Honey:
(Yields 750 ml)
750 ml bottle Wild Turkey American Honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean

Drop cinnamon stick and vanilla bean into liqueur. Allow to infuse for one week. Strain out cinnamon stick and vanilla bean.

For the full Southeastern Wildlife Exposition schedule, click here.

To find more cocktail recipes from some of Charleston’s best bartenders, click here.

To read Prioleau Alexander’s “Southern View” essay on surviving SEWE, click here.


Wed, 02/16/2011