Lieutenant Dan’s got a killer summer cocktail for you today. This version of an easy Whiskey Sour, called “The Champ” is a bourbon cocktail with a refreshing twist!
Lt. Dan, AKA the hubs, is back from his cocktail hiatus and ready to share a fresh summer cocktail we’ve been sipping all month.
Take it baby…
I have been asked a lot lately “how is it that Mrs. Spicy comes up with all those varied recipes? I could never do that!” To which my standard reply is “because she is gorgeous and smarter than you!” (Not really, but I figured putting that response in here couldn’t hurt!)
What I really say is that it is a combination of several things including practice, tasting experience, an understanding of flavor combinations, passion, creativity and mostly repetition. Many of her recipes are built on some framework of flavor that she has done before and is being tweaked or added to for the latest concoction.
She has built this knowledge/experience over years of trial and error – as well as constantly introducing new ingredients and flavors.
This idea brings me to the topic of this post – the home bar.
Those who know me well, know that I have many of the traits described above when it relates to cocktails: practice, tasting experience, passion, repetition, etc… I have been told a few occasions that I can make pretty good cocktails. BUT, like many home cooks I have found myself in a rut of creativity – always making the same things without really branching out to try different flavors. This is mostly because I don’t know those flavors and how to use them!
It’s like the home cook who makes outstanding lasagna and beef stew… and that’s it! They are afraid to make an Asian or a Mediterranean dish because of how it may turn out or just simply don’t know where to start. I could make a great Martini or Manhattan, but had no idea how to concoct (or enjoy) a Negroni or a Vesper.
Knowing that Mrs. Spicy was going to expect a cocktail post at least once a month, I decided to branch out and begin to try new flavors. As well, to really understand the framework in which cocktails were developed – hopefully this would increase my own flavor profile and allow me to bring you better cocktails. If you looked at my home bar a year ago it was pretty simple: vodka, gin, tequila, soda, tonic, maraschino cherries (I don’t use them anymore, but I still love to just eat them out of the jar!), scotch and maybe bourbon to mix with coke. Now I have these items with additions like Campari, flavored bitters, Lillet, Fernet, Cynar, Luxardo, infused vermouths, Old Tom gin, multiple bourbons, etc…
My overall flavor profile has increased just by trying new things – and my overall offering to guests has not only gotten bigger but improved as well.
So to the home cook out there, go pick up some fish sauce, chili paste, peanuts and a wok and see what flavors you may have been missing (its not as difficult as you may think). And to the home mixologist – get some Lillet for Vesper’s and some Campari for Negroni’s and serve your guests something other than just a Gin and Tonic!
With all that in mind – I hope you enjoy the cocktail for this month – “The Champ”. It is a classic spin on the Whisky Sour, adding the flavors of apple brandy and mint. Extremely refreshing for summertime BBQ’s or sitting on the porch swing.
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