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 Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




(More History)