A bourbon cocktail for any season


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Posted Online: May 06, 2014, 11:44 am
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By J.M. Hirsch
My son's fourth grade math homework has taught me an incredibly valuable lesson. About bourbon.

Inappropriate association, you say? Perhaps. But if a bit of bourbon is what it takes for me to safely usher my offspring through the woes of improper fractions, division patterns, quadrants and perimeter calculations, then I say pour me another round, and make it snappy.

Prior to the intrusion of fourth grade math into my life, I had rather set notions about cocktails and the liquors from which they are born. I considered them mostly seasonal items. Gin and tonics are suitable for spring, pisco sours and margaritas love summer, cranberry juice and vodka were made for fall, and mulled wine outside of winter was simply wrong.

Actually, I still believe in that. But as my son's math homework has carried through the seasons — the warm days of early September, the chill of November, the frost of February, and now the thaw of spring — I've learned that there is no season — and no volume of homework — for which bourbon isn't appropriate.

Of course, for a cocktail to be homework-friendly, it also must be simple. Clearly — and sadly — our focus must be on the math, not mixology. So in addition to being seasonal, my cocktails are blissfully simple to concoct.

Old Fashioned (spring)
My version of the classic old fashioned is more citrusy than sweet. Traditional recipes often include a maraschino cherry, but I find that it muddies the flavor.
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 large strip of orange or lemon zest
Dash of orange bitters
2 ounces bourbon
1 large ice cube

In tumbler or rocks glass, combine the sugar, zest and bitters. Using a spoon or muddler, lightly mash the zest into the sugar. Add the bourbon, then stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ice.

Kentucky Tropics (summer)
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
1 small sprig fresh mint
3 ounces bourbon
2 ounces pineapple juice
Ice

Place the mint in a cocktail shaker, then use a muddler or spoon to lightly bruise it. Add the remaining ingredients, then shake until well chilled. Strain into a tumbler.

The Orchard (fall)
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
2 ounces bourbon
2 ounces apple cider
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, then shake well. Strain into a canning jar or some similarly laid back drinking vessel.

Grave Digger (winter)
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce red wine
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Splash of lemon juice
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled, then strain into a tumbler.




















 




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  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
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1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.


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