Penicillin Cocktail Recipe

Created by Sam Ross ex Milk and Honey NYC and now Attaboy, the Penicillin cocktail is considered a modern classic that has stood the test of time.

Penicillin Cocktail

The cocktail dates back to 2005 and was one of the early drinks that used single malt in whisky cocktails. The drink is based on a whisky sour where blended Scotch, fresh lemon juice and honey ginger syrup are shaken with ice and the drink is finished with a peated Islay whisky float.

For the honey ginger syrup, Sam Ross uses 3:1 honey to water ratio then adds freshly juiced ginger with granulated sugar stirred through it so as not to add further dilution.

The Penicillin cocktail brings a delicious balance of smoke, sweet and sour notes with the bite of ginger. 

Penicillin Cocktail Recipe

Created by Sam Ross


  • 20 ml blended Scotch whisky
  • 20 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20 ml honey ginger syrup
  • 10 ml peated Islay single malt whisky

For the honey ginger syrup:

  • 45 ml honey
  • 15 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger

Glassware: old fashioned glass
Garnish: candied ginger


To make the honey ginger syrup, stir the honey, sugar and water in a small bowl. Juice the ginger or grate it finely then put in a cheesecloth and squeeze to separate the juice. Add 45 ml of the juice to the honey water mix and stir until dissolved. You may need to heat the mixture ever so briefly to dissolve the sugar.

In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients except the Islay whisky and shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with ice cubes. Using a bar spoon, gently float the Islay single malt whisky on top. Garnish with candied ginger.

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Photo by Cocktails & Bars – © Copyright: All rights reserved.

Penicillin Cocktail Recipe was last modified: December 28th, 2016 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.