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 Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.







(More History)