Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whiskey Sour

You'd think a basic cocktail recipe like this could be stated in as little as a sentence, but I believe this one actually deserves a little discussion.

I wanted to make my own sweet-and-sour mix rather than buy a pre-made concoction. The first Google hit was a recipe by Emeril Lagasse. I decided to look no further. How could I go wrong by starting out trying a recipe with such a fine pedigree?

Emeril's recipe for the sweet-and-sour mix was very simple: 1 oz. lemon juice, 1 oz. sugar, 2 oz. water. But wait... is that one ounce of sugar by weight? Should I interpret it as "one fluid ounce of sugar"? So, confusion right from the get-go. I decided to use weight measurements for all the ingredients. Using a kitchen scale, I measured out 8 ounces of water. To this I added 4 ounces of sugar and brought the mixture to a boil in the microwave. I let the simple syrup cool and then I added 4 ounces by weight of bottled lemon juice.

Emeril's mix gave me a very nice whiskey sour, but I've since nosed around for different sweet-and-sour mix recipes. Turns out these pretty much go all over the map. Proportions of sugar and water vary widely, and many recipes call for freshly juiced lemons, limes, and/or oranges. My kitchen lacks a juicing machine so I hopped onto Amazon and ordered a Hamilton Beach 67650 Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor. It will arrive tomorrow, so I'll be able to experiment with different recipes this weekend.

So, here's my current recipe, subject to improvement.

Sweet-and-Sour Mix

  • 8 ounces (by weight) water
  • 4 ounces (by weight) sugar
  • 4 ounces (by weight) lemon juice
  1. Combine water and sugar. Stir, and heat in a microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir heated mixture well to completely dissolve the sugar. Let cool.
  3. Add lemon juice and store in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.
Note: Be sure to stir the mixture immediately after removing it from the microwave. I've been guilty of becoming distracted and letting the mixture cool without stirring. The sugar hardens into lumps and you have to re-boil it.

    Whiskey Sour

    • 1-1/2 oz. moderately-priced bourbon (such as Rebel Yell)
    • 2 oz. sweet-and-sour mix
    • 3 ice cubes, crushed
    • 1 maraschino cherry
    1. Combine bourbon, sweet-and-sour mix, and crushed ice in an Old Fashion glass.
    2. Garnish with a maraschino cherry
    Note: I'm not a fan of using expensive whiskey in mixed drinks, but I draw the line at cheap Canadian or other blended whiskeys. 

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