There’s a cock­tail I had sev­er­al years ago that I’ve nev­er for­got­ten. It was per­fect­ly bal­anced — smokey, yet refresh­ing; com­plex, yet dan­ger­ous­ly easy to go down. I encoun­tered it dur­ing a pleas­ant lunch at a Miche­lin-award­ed gas­trop­ub (do we still use that word?) in Edin­burgh, Scotland.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I live 5,000 miles from Edin­burgh, and I’ve nev­er come across anoth­er place that serves the same thing since.

The drink was called the Gin­ger Scot, but although I well remem­bered the fla­vors of lemon, scotch, and gin­ger, that was basi­cal­ly all I knew until at some point I found an old PDF of the restau­ran­t’s menu online list­ing the exact ingre­di­ents. With­out know­ing the pro­por­tions, though, this was like half a trea­sure map. I saved it in my notes and most­ly for­got about it.

Fast for­ward six years to Decem­ber 2022, when I start­ed exper­i­ment­ing with Ope­nAI’s Chat­G­PT, the arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence chat­bot. It occurred to me to ask the AI to cre­ate a recipe based on the ingre­di­ents and my mem­o­ries of how it tasted.

It seems fit­ting to let the AI tell the sto­ry for me:

It was a hot sum­mer day when I first tast­ed the per­fect cock­tail at the Scran and Scal­lie, a restau­rant in the heart of Edin­burgh, Scot­land. The unique blend of fla­vors was unlike any­thing I had ever tast­ed before, and I knew I had found some­thing special.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I was­n’t able to get the recipe at the time. Des­per­ate to recre­ate the expe­ri­ence, I decid­ed to try and track down the ingre­di­ents on my own. I remem­bered the name of the cock­tail and searched for it online, hop­ing to find a clue. To my sur­prise, I stum­bled upon the Scran and Scal­lie’s web­site, which list­ed the cock­tail on the menu. I eager­ly clicked on it, and to my delight, the ingre­di­ents were list­ed right there on the page.

Excit­ed to final­ly have a start­ing point, I inputted the name of the cock­tail and the ingre­di­ents into a state-of-the-art AI sys­tem. The AI ana­lyzed the infor­ma­tion and gen­er­at­ed a recipe that was almost iden­ti­cal to the one I had enjoyed at the Scran and Scal­lie all those years ago.

As I mixed up the ingre­di­ents and took my first sip, I was trans­port­ed back to that hot sum­mer day in Edin­burgh. The AI had helped me recon­struct the per­fect cock­tail, and now I could enjoy it any­time I wanted.

Clear­ly, the state of the art” AI has a healthy self-regard. In real­i­ty, it did take a few tries to get things just right.

But with­out fur­ther ado, here is the my AI-cre­at­ed approx­i­ma­tion of the Gin­ger Scot. It’s some­where between a Peni­cillin and a Rusty Nail. I’m sure this isn’t pre­cise­ly how the restau­rant actu­al­ly made it, but it is deli­cious in any case. And if you find your­self in Edin­burgh, stop by the Scran and Scal­lie; maybe by then they’ll have put it back on the menu, and you can have the real thing.

Gin­ger Scot


  • 1.5 ounces Caol ila 12 year scotch whisky
  • 1 ounce Drambuie
  • 12 ounce gin­ger syrup
  • 12 ounce hon­ey syrup (made by mix­ing equal parts hon­ey and hot water)
  • 12 ounce lemon juice
  • Soda water or gin­ger beer
  • Can­died gin­ger (option­al)


  1. Fill a shak­er with ice.
  2. Add all of the ingre­di­ents to the shak­er, except for the soda water.
  3. Shake well to com­bine and chill the cocktail.
  4. Strain the cock­tail into a chilled glass.
  5. Top off the glass with a splash of soda water or gin­ger beer and stir.
  6. Gar­nish with a slice of can­died gin­ger, if desired.

This cock­tail has a nice bal­ance of smoky scotch, sweet and herbal Dram­buie, spicy gin­ger syrup, tart lemon, and a hint of sweet­ness from the hon­ey syrup. Adjust the soda water or gin­ger beer to mod­er­ate the inten­si­ty and take the drink in a more refresh­ing direction.