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Put a twist on a Penicillin with these 6 variations on a classic cocktail

ballantines 12 year old penicilin whisky drink

Ah the Penicillin. It’s sweet, fiery and packed with flavour. This modern-classic cocktail only shot to fame this century, but it’s since become a best loved whisky drink across the globe.

The classic recipe calls for blended whisky, honey and ginger syrup, and fresh lemon, plus a float of peat scotch for good measure. And whilst this combo is more than delicious enough, it’s also a great base for mixing up your own way.Here we share our favourite variations of the Penicillin cocktail. Make it hot, make it frozen, add your favourite flavour. There’s no rules here.

Hot Penicillin Toddy

If you like a Hot Toddy, you’ll love this twist. The original Penicillin is shaken and served over ice, but this time we’re getting toasty. 

Whisky, lemon and honey come together once again in the Penicillin, but with the addition of ginger for a fiery kick. Keep your ingredients the same but instead of ice, add boiling water to your mug or simmer on the stove for extra spiciness.

Penicillin Spritz

This twist’s got all the punch of a Penicillin with extra spritz. Served highball style, it calls for the classic ginger, honey, lemon flavour trio but this time with a pouring of ginger beer. Shake Ballantine’s 12 year old whisky with honey and ginger syrup, and freshly squeezed lemon before topping up with ginger beer. Can’t handle the heat? Swap to ginger ale for a slightly lighter serve.

Ballantine’s 12 Year Old

A sophisticated blend of whiskies selected at their peak, honed into a drink that’s the result of passion for the craft.

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Penicillin Punch

Make up a batch of Penicillin Punch to kick the night off with a bang. This group serve is a real crowd pleaser and sure to get people talking. Simply multiply the classic recipe by the number of guests or rounds you want to have handy.

Feel free to shake the ingredients together, or keep things simple by building in a punch bowl, jug or whatever container takes your fancy. Add in plenty of ice and garnish with lemon wheels and candied ginger.

Frozen Penicillin

You’re gonna dust off your blender for this spicy summer serve. Made with tons of ice, this frozen twist on the Penicillin is the ultimate slushie cocktail for spontaneous weekend get-togethers. Sip through a straw to cool off when the sun’s scorching.

Make enough for everyone in one go – simply blend everything but the peated scotch with ice until smooth. Next, you’ll wanna pour into a stemmed cocktail glass and top with the peated whisky float.

Penicillin Kick

The Penicillin is already pretty fiery. Fresh ginger adds a punchy heat with the smokiness of peated scotch.  But if you’re feeling brave, we hear a dash of chilli syrup adds a serious kick.

Pop in a drop to your syrup and whisky mix before adding lots of ice. Need more sweetness? A splash of pineapple juice will take the pressure off the heat, adding a tropical twist.


Prescribe yourself the Penicillin, a fiery Scotch classic to kick off your weekend in style. No doctors necessary.



Bring an earthy sweetness to your Penicillin cocktail with a matcha twist. The low key flavour of East Asia’s powdered green tea blends beautifully with the fresh lemon and honey. And the fresh green colour screams spring.

Add a dash of your favourite matcha to the shaker and strain for the perfect serve. Edible flowers will also get you extra bonus points when it comes to presentation.

Looking for more cocktails to make your own? Pay a visit to our collection of whisky drink recipes to shake up and serve at home. We’ve got everything from the best variations on a whisky sour to easy scotch cocktails.

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