Alex Johnston

Hot Tamale

Auchie & betty


Tall coup


1 large ice cube, thyme oil & rose petals


45ml - Kaiserfleisch Bacon fat washed Auchentoshan American Oak

30ml strawberry & Rosemary SWeet vermouth

10ml Grapefruit & Lavender dry vermouth

1 barspoon orange zest & Cognac marmalade


Stir all ingredients and double strain. Garnish with 1 large ice cube, 5 oil drops & petals


My inspiration is 2-fold; it takes me back to my Grandma’s garden as a child, but is also inspired by her connection with the Auchentoshan brand and seeing me gardening as a child taking HER back to her childhood doing the same during WWII, a time important in Auchentoshan’s history that helps shows the brand’s true colours.

I used to spend summer out in the countryside at my grandparents as a child. Most days there would be spent outside exploring or helping my Grandma in her garden. It was full of all kinds or herbs, flowers, summer fruits, and it backed onto fields upon fields. Smells of barley, thyme, citrus, rosemary, next door's bonfires. All these layers of smell are ingrained into my memory and helped inspire the ingredients of my Vermouth's, which are purposely there to add a depth of flavours, not just one or 2 each.

It was watching me gardening that my Grandma said reminded me of herself at her age, picking herbs, fruits, vegetables. But HER youth was a very different story. My Grandma was born and grew up in a town called Paisley in WWII - a stones' throw from the home of Auchentoshan in Clydesdale. These 2 towns share the same story during the war, a story famous in Auchentoshan's history of a plan where the local townspeople rallied behind the distillery and used anything they had in their sheds or gardens to trick German bombers away from an important shipbuilding yard on the river adjacent to the distillery by making the nearby motorway look like a river.

This was a time of using what you had and rations, with limited luxuries, but ones that my Grandma always remembered with a smile were marmalade and jams, and smoky bacon on ration day. It's what I had for breakfast every morning when I stayed with her and it's what inspired the Kaiserfliech fat wash. Kaiserfleich is a European style, farm house smoked bacon, very close to the type ham or bacon back in those days and also helps to add a smoky, oily texture to the drink.

The last touch to the drink is the thyme oil and rose petals garnish. The rose petals are for my Grandma and her garden. The smooth, arduous, fragrant thyme oil is Auchie, it's that drop of sweat that goes into each bottle, and the big rock of ice in the middle is that solid, long lasting bond between Auchentoshan and the people of its nearby towns.

Foraging Trip and Masterclass

Hot Tamale

For my World Bartender Day I’ll be holding an event at Sandbar at the Skycity Casino. The inspiration for my drink comes from memories of my Grandma’s  backgarden and this event takes you on the journey of my inspiration. We start with a foraging trip around the Darwin Botanical Gardens and local area for ingredients, finishing with a Vermouth masterclass and training on how to make you’re own Vermouth at Sandbar.