Bourbon Two Ways: Holiday Edition

Here are a few facts:

– When it comes to having a drink, we are a couple of whiskey-drinking ladies.

– Boy, do we have two whiskey recipes for you.

– In addition to being a couple of ladies who know things about food, we are also a couple of ladies who know things about drinks.

Here are a few drink things that we know:

– During the holidays, and just about any other time, when guests walk in your door, they’re probably excited to be there. They’ll be even more excited to be there if you greet them with a drink.

Christmas Week at Bob and Amy's, December 2012 — Lee and Lou Cook, photo LKH

This is what last December looked like, so prepare now: get out the whiskey.

– If you’ve never had a Luxardo cherry, you need to immediately reevaluate what you’re doing with the next few hours of your life. Whether you love Maraschino cherries or you think you hate them, you don’t have any idea what you really feel until you’ve had one. Hint: It’s unabashed, unstoppable, how-many-cherries-can-you-fit-in-your-mouth-at-once love that’s been blinded by those little technicolor bombs of artificial flavor for which you may or may not have a gross but adoring place in your heart… Even so. It’s time to move on. Luxardo cherries blow the average Maraschino cherry so far out of the water that you’ll be hard pressed to believe they could have ever possibly been the same fruit: They’re the best damn cherries this or that side of the Mississippi River. Fact. But if you want something that’s a little easier to find, head to Whole Foods or any similar type of store and buy some all natural cocktail cherries because they are also really, really good. (Get the deep red ones—they’re the best.)

– We think bourbon is the most versatile whiskey. It’s delicious on its own, over ice, or, as is important for today’s post, in any whiskey cocktail. While we love rye, sour mash, Scotch (Lou’s favorite), corn whiskey, Irish whiskey, and so on, so many of these seem to fit best in one spot or another. But good bourbon, with its smoothly warm, caramely flavor has a roundness and easiness that lends itself so well to getting along with other ingredients without being boring, making it perfect for cocktails. It’s as good in a Whiskey Smash as it is mixed with hot apple cider, as good in an Old Fashioned as it is in whipped cream (not a cocktail… or is it?)… That being said, feel free to try your favorite kind of whiskey in the drinks below.

– On a three-dog night, few things taste better or warm you up faster than a delicious whiskey drink, which is why, dear friends, we’re sharing two of our favorites with you during this cold and wonderful time of year. With some recipe inspiration from Peter, we’ve perfected them just for you.

– We know a few other things, but we’ll save those for later. Ladies are supposed to maintain some mystery? Or something?

So, here’s thanks and a toast to you, readers. We’re so happy to have you with us as we bring in this holiday season, our favorite time of year. We hope these drinks and our food bring you warm stomachs, warmer hearts, and good times with good friends, just like they have for us.

Happy holidays,

Lee and Lou

* * * *

Ruby Manhattan
Makes one tasty drink.

Ruby Manhattan Lee and Lou Cook

You’ll need:
A cocktail shaker

– 1 1/2 oz  Port (we used Fonseca Porto Bin No. 27 Finest Reserve—you’ll need a reserve or ruby, not tawny, Port to stand up to the bourbon)
– 1 1/2 oz bourbon (we used Bulleit Bourbon because it’s smooth and delicious and not overly expensive)
– 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
– 2 dashes of walnut bitters (or other nutty bitters—we used Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters, which really and truly make all the difference as they are so, so deliciously unique and absolutely worth finding… also, they’re incredible in apple pie and all sorts of other foods and drinks—we use them a lot)
(- Ok, so it’s not necessary, but if you like, 1 of those aforementioned all-natural Maraschino cherries because even if it’s not necessary who doesn’t like a cherry in a drink? It’s ok, you can admit it.)

* Fill shaker 1/2 full of ice. (If you’re making two drinks at a time—that’s probably all you can fit in your shaker—fill to 3/4 full.)
* Pour port, bourbon, Grand Marnier, and bitters over ice and shake well.
* Strain into a glass (no ice).
* Add a cherry, if you like.

* * * *

Whiskey Ginger Rose
Makes one tasty drink.

Whiskey Rose — Lee and Lou Cook, photo LKH

You’ll need:
A cocktail shaker

– 2 oz bourbon (again, we used Bulleit)
– 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
– 1/2 oz freshly (back away from the “fresh” juice in a bottle!) squeezed lemon juice
– 1 tsp cherry juice/syrup that your all-natural/Luxardo Maraschino cherries are soaking in
– 1 cherry from the cherry jar
– 1 strip of lemon peel, optional

* Fill shaker 1/2 full of ice (or again, to 3/4 full if you’re making two).
* Pour bourbon, Domaine de Canton, and lemon and cherry juices over ice and shake well.
* Strain your drink into your glass, either over ice or not. (We usually prefer some ice, but it depends on our mood.) Your choice.
* Don’t forget the cherry…
* …And the lemon peel, if using—give it a twist over the drink and add to the glass.

©2014 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.

One response to “Bourbon Two Ways: Holiday Edition

  1. Yum! I have loved marichino cherries since I was a kid sneaking them out of her fridge! But I am a Maker’s Mark girl through and through 😉

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