Another Mixology Monday is upon us and I want to thank Sean aka runoknows, my cohort here at the Scofflaw's Den for hosting this month. He is doing the heavy lifting of the round-up while I sit back and drink some tasty bourbon concoctions. Yep, this month's theme is Bourbon.
Both of us here at the Den love this spirit, maybe above all others. For me, the love dates back to my undergraduate days at the University of Virginia. Our drink of choice was the simple Bourbon and Coke and we certainly had plenty of them. But now our tastes have changed and I've learned more about bourbon than I ever thought I would. From wheaters to high-ryes and tastings at one of our favorite DC bars, Bourbon, I feel like my education is ongoing and endless when it comes to this particular spirit. Of course, that doesn't mean that for the first home UVa football game, I don't break out the Jim Beam and Diet Coke and enjoy a glass or two while cheering on the Cavs. As an old friend of mine would state whenever he smelled bourbon, "Smells like football season!."
For all my appreciation and love for bourbon, Sean picked a challenging time for MxMo. The Kentucky Derby and the Mint Juleps are generally my last great dance with bourbon until the heat of summer subsides. Of course this doesn't mean I completely turn my back on bourbon during the scorching days and nights of summer. I'll still whip up some Mint Juleps, have a bourbon and coke or maybe just have a nice dram over an ice cube after a long day at work. But still, bourbon isn't really what I think of as a summer spirit. This makes finding suitable libations a bit more daunting.
When trying to decide what to write about, I wanted drinks that were refreshing and easily drinkable. Something with lots of ice, full of flavor and really beat back the hot humid weather. What I came away with is one winner and one that needed some work. First, lets look at the one that needed some work.
Kentucky Orange Blossom
1.5 oz bourbon
1.5 oz tangerine juice
.75 oz Cointreau
1 dash orange flower water
*Shake everything with ice and strain into an ice filled rocks glass.
I found this drink while looking up recipes for bourbon drinks. It was a variation on a bourbon based sidecar that used tangerine juice. Frankly, I've been drinking lots of sidecars lately so the variation sounded better. Maybe that should have been a clue . . . The drink was "eh." It was very dry and none of the flavors really popped out at me. The bourbon was muted and even though everything else is orange based, the orange flavor really disappeared. I was pretty disappointed. I decided to tinker a little bit and see if I could save this drink, at least for my tastes. I think it has a great base, but I really wanted to sweeten it up some. So I pulled out my orange-cardamom syrup and added about half an ounce. That really brightened up the orange flavor! I still think it could use a little something extra, but for now, it isn't half bad with the extra sweetness.
The second drink I wanted to give you folks is an original (at least, I didn't do any research so it's new to me!) and is a variation of a Lynchburg Lemonade. Now as I'm sure you know, a Lynchburg Lemonade is simply lemonade spiked with Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. And since this is a bourbon themed month, J.D. had to step aside. Here is what I came up with:
Front Porch Cooler
2 oz bourbon
1 oz creme de peche
2 dashes Fees Peach Bitters
1 dash Fees Lemon Bitters
5 oz lemonade
*Shake the first four ingredients with lots of ice and strain into a chilled, ice filled chimney glass. Top with the lemonade.
Now, a few notes on this drink. First, taste your lemonade. Is it really sweet? Is it very tart? Commercial or homemade? You really want the lemon flavor to come through and most commercial lemonades are not very sweet or tart. If you don't have homemade lemonade that is good and tart, you can always add lemon juice and/or simple syrup to the final drink to up the tartness/sweetness to your own liking. If you want more peach flavor, consider muddling a slice of fresh peach or two in the glass with the creme de peche then add the other ingredients. The point is, you can vary this recipe endlessly to find what tastes good to you. Want to add blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or whatever else to the mix? Feel free! Enjoy!
Well, thanks again to Sean for tackling this Mixology Monday! There certainly wouldn't be a Scofflaw's Den with out him and he deserves a round of applause. Personally, I'll just buy him a beer sometime. Or better yet, I've got this nice bottle of Balvenie Doublewood Scotch that I just *know* he'd love to have some of . . .