Celebrate National Bourbon Day

Happy Bourbon Day Queen City Drinkers! What’s this you say? You’ve never heard of Bourbon Day before? I suppose this means you didn’t get me anything either? That’s OK, I’m disgusted at how commercial the holiday has become anyway. Remember, Elijah Craig is the reason for the season. Yes legend, or perhaps just a good marketing department, has it that in 1789 on this date, June 14, Baptist minister Elijah Craig first invented bourbon by aging his whiskey in a charred oak barrel before sending it down to New Orleans where it became a hit.

Although this story is likely apocryphal, that isn’t going to stop me from celebrating. For today’s cocktail I recommend a classic bourbon cocktail, the horse’s neck.

I first made this drink for Episode 41 of The Charlie Tonic Hour. Charlie and I talked about our trip to the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar where, in addition to sampling a nice selection of rye and bourbon whiskey, I also tried a classic bourbon cocktail. The Horse’s Neck cocktail dates back to at least the 1890’s when it was more typically made with brandy. Today it is most associated with bourbon and has a history within the Navy as a typical officer’s drink. It gets its name from the garnish, a long peel of lemon that hangs over the glass. I love ginger and bourbon so this was a great drink for me. Make it with the bourbon we featured in the show, Ancient Age 10 Year, and you won’t be disappointed.

Horse’s Neck

1 Lemon
2 ounces of Bourbon or Rye
Ginger Ale
dash of bitters

Carefully peel a long sliver of lemon zest and arrange it in a highball glass and add ice.
Add the bourbon and bitters, top with ginger ale and stir.

Summer Bourbon

blackberry bourbon fizz

For some reason, as the temperatures rise it seems only natural to switch from darker drinks to lighter. Maybe it is the color or the flavor but this rule applies to beer, wine, and especially to spirits. People associate whiskey with warming you up on a winter evening while white rum and vodka drinks dominate our summer cocktails. But just because the days are getting longer and the pools are opening doesn’t mean you should put your bourbon back on the shelf till fall. Just take a look at this recipe I found on Facebook:

blackberrybourbon

Ok the language may be a little course but it is clear that bourbon can hang with the fruity summer drinks just as well as it’s un-aged cousins. But since the picture is a little vague let me help you out.  Here is a recipe that worked well for me.

Blackberry Bourbon Fizz

4-5 fresh blackberries
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce ginger liqueur
club soda
fresh basil
Muddle the blackberries at the bottom of a glass.
Fill the glass with ice and add the spirits.
Top with club soda and stir well.
Garnish with a fresh piece of basil.

You can also use plain old ginger ale in place of the club soda if you don’t have any ginger liqueur. You can hear me make this drink and get a review of Elmer T. Lee single barrel bourbon on Episode 15 of Bottoms Up. And if listening isn’t enough for you, this is one of the cocktails that I will be demonstrating at the Summer Cocktails class I am teaching June 20th at Cork n Bottle.  Hope to see you there.