I am a huge Bourbon fan. While I’ve never met a Whiskey I haven’t liked, over the years I’ve found that I prefer Bourbon to all other Whiskeys, including Scotch. I’ve always been a Bourbon fan, at least since my college days, when I drank copious amounts of Jim Beam. While in culinary school I discovered Basil Hayden and the rest of the Super Premium Bourbons and haven’t looked back since. Basil Hayden is still one of my favorites, although I can’t afford it often so my “go to” Bourbon is Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace.
While in college I usually drank Jim and Coke, or did straight up shots, but occasionally I would go on Whiskey Sour kicks. I quickly outgrew those drinks as they always seemed too harsh and abrasive. It wasn’t until years later that I rediscovered what great drinks “Sours” could be once you gave up on that nasty pre-made bottled stuff made with chemicals, acids and a very small percentage (if any) of real juice. Real purists will probably tell you that it is best to make each and every drink completely from scratch. While I will occasionally make my Sours this way, I prefer to streamline the process and make up a batch of homemade sour mix. This is a great time saver, but only make enough to use up in a couple of days. After that, the fresh lemon and lime juice starts to oxidize and loses that wonderfully fresh flavor that one can only get with fresh squeezed juice. Technically, the sour mix will stay good for a week or so, but to really experience the drink in its prime use up your sour mix in a day or two. Also, this drink is all about freshness so don’t even consider using a shortcut and buying one of those plastic lemons and limes. It’s not worth it and you might as well just go ahead and purchase the sour mix itself. Trust me those plastic lemons and limes taste nothing close to fresh squeezed.
Finally, and I’ve covered this before, but it’s been awhile, many old, classic drinks contain egg white. It lends a rich, almost creamy mouth feel to cocktails. Make sure that you use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on and don’t overdo it or it will add an off flavor to your drink. If the thought of a bit of raw egg white totally grosses you out, you can skip it and the drink will still be good, but I encourage you to try it, at least once, and see if it doesn’t elevate the drink from just good to great.
makes about 4 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 cups Water
1 cup Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup Lime juice, freshly squeezed
Combine the sugar and water in a small pot, bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the lemon and lime juice to remove any and all pulp and add to the cooled simple syrup. Chill until ready to use. Best if used in the first 3 days but will stay good for a week or so.
Whiskey (Bourbon) Sour
makes 1 drink
3oz. Homemade Sour Mix
1 Tbl. (1/2oz.) Egg White””
Combine Bourbon, sour mix and egg white in a cocktail shaker and dry shake (shake without ice) for 5 seconds. Add ice to fill the shaker half way and shake for about 20 seconds. Strain into a tumbler filled with ice, making sure to allow the shaker to drain completely. Garnish with a cherry and lemon or orange wheel. You will notice in the picture above there is no cherry. We had some maraschino cherries in the fridge but it looks like my daughter got to them before I did!
**Egg whites can be difficult to measure out as they want to stick together. You can combat this by adding a drop of water to the egg white and giving it a quick beating with a fork to break it up. If it still wants to cling together it’s best to under portion the egg white rather than over portion it.