I recently revisited and updated my sour mix recipe, which you can find as part of the Whiskey Sour Day post from 2016, but this year wanted to also post another take on it that uses honey (or agave nectar, for a vegan option) instead of white sugar. See the updated sour mix recipe or see how to make your drink below.
Posts published in “Beer, Wine, and Spirits”
August 25th marks Whiskey Sour Day again this year. I posted about it four years ago but this year it dawned on me: how did a day in August become Whiskey Sour Day, anyway?
I searched the internet high and low and couldn't find a suitable answer. An article from Bourbonbanter.com published in 2013, though, suggests that the day was created basically for fun, but that the drink has origins circa the 1700s when British Navy sailors would add lime juice to their rum, both to preserve the juice and to keep the sailors free from scurvy (a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.)
For anyone who has ever attended a college party or two in their time, flashbacks of overly sweetened "jungle juice" might instantly come to mind (along with memories of some crazy hangovers the next day after drinking the stuff, perhaps.)
The recipe? It was always simple: combine assorted liquor with assorted juices to end up with a concoction that was potent to drink and seemed to always vary in color—sometimes orange if a lot of pineapple or orange juice was added to the mix, othertimes a greenish color from what had to be a healthy dose (a whole bottle?) of melon liqueur.
Whatever you call it, it's was a great idea to serve for big, casual parties—and it's still a good idea today, with some modifications, of course.
These days, I pair back the juices and booze so it's not a base of "everything and the kitchen sink" anymore. I also generally make mine with better ingredients, like organic juices and seltzer instead of soda which adds fizz without extra sugar. A base of mango and pineapple with a touch of lime juice make it tropical and flavored vodka provides extra kick of flavor.
If you're like me then you've probably taken a trip to the grocery store at least once, maybe twice by now to prepare for the "big day" coming up. Maybe it was to get your turkey, or stock up on staples like paper towels or other pantry items that always seem to take up a lot of room in a shopping trip. I generally like to get these things out of the way in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving or any big holiday so I can focus on the details of the meal itself, like buying fresh ingredients, as the days count down.
My Thanksgiving brainstorming admittedly started months ago when I started browsing for new recipes that could be candidates to have on my table this year. A few select recipes even got trial runs and taste tests to make sure that they were up to par to put on the final holiday menu, with Dave as my Chief Taste Tester and my parents as members of the testing panel (or peanut gallery, depending on the day.)
I don't usually go too crazy with new recipes, since most in my family like to eat tried-and-true favorites or subtle variations on them on Thanksgiving, but I do try to sneak in one or two "new" things where I can. For me, this usually comes in a variety of booze. Nobody in my family is a die-hard wine drinker or is otherwise bound to a specific spirit or libation, so trying new cocktail recipes is one way I like to be creative with adding something for holiday meals.
If you're looking for ideas for a quick holiday drink to make for Thanksgiving, consider this when you take your next trip to the store this week (or maybe it's your 100th trip to the store because if you're anything like me then list or no list, something, somehow, is always missed in the other 99 trips): a festive berry-colored drink that starts off with Sangria wine and adds a few other simple ingredients. Lime-flavored seltzer tops the drink off with a little fizz and helps to lighten it up some, too.
I came across a recipe for Homemade Irish Cream that presented me with a perfect excuse to imbibe over the holiday weekend while simultaneously knocking off one of my my foodie resolutions while doing so. Pretty cool. ;)
I guess Irish Cream is considered a cordial... or a liqueur. Serious Eats suggests that the terms are interchangeable, with cordial appearing more often on dessert-like products: liqueurs flavored with coffee, cream, chocolate, etc.
Fun fact: today is National Whiskey Sour Day.
Not like I really need "a day" for whiskey drinking—anyone who knows me personally knows that whiskey-, rye-, and bourbon-based drinks are my jam—but sadly it's not just any day that you can find a good whiskey sour.
A "sour" is a family of drinks that includes the Daquiri, Margarita, and Sidecar. The formula to make a sour cocktail is simple: spirit + the "sour part" (like lemon or lime juice) + the "sweet" part (like simple syrup).
Easy as that. In theory.
I say "in theory" because a simple, three-part recipe should be hard to screw up but yet I hate ordering whiskey sours at restaurants. Actually, I hate ordering most mixed drinks at most restaurants, with chain restaurants and sports bars being the biggest offenders: The sour and sweet parts of mixed drinks are usually co-mingled here in the form of sickeningly-sweet, nuclear yellow-colored bottled sour mix. Yuck.
Not to turn my back on bourbon, which many know is a favorite spirit of mine, but the Gin and Tonic is one of my absolute favorite drinks. For World Gin Day, I'm excited to share recipes for two gin infusions that are perfect choices to use in my favorite cocktail.
I tend to stick with other herbs and spices or citrus when I infuse gin because it's already herbal to begin with; it's not neutral and open to most ingredients, like its cousin vodka. In this case, cucumber-lime and lemongrass-ginger are two flavor pairings that really work well and I enjoy drinking in a Gin and Tonic.