If you are not careful, your life can take on a life of its own. I woke up early on a Saturday morning not long ago and realized I had spent a good portion of the month talking about molly bolts and plaster walls to anyone who would listen, or pretend to. I do not want to be the kind of person who, when asked how she is doing, starts talking about the problems she is having with her drapes.
But a lot has been going on lately. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family, passed away just shy of her ninety-fifth birthday.
My little brother got married.
Brett and I also bought a condo in Boston.
If I had to sum up the process as a first-time home buyer in a city without ample housing, I would liken it to looking for lodging on the island from Lord of the Flies after getting a partial lobotomy. You are forced to use a new set of vocabulary you do not understand. Advanced degrees and personal triumphs become meaningless. Other buyers become the enemy.
In the end it just feels like you are lighting money on fire.
Suffice to say thinking about food, and then writing about it, has not been at the top of my list. I recently started cooking again and will have actual meal suggestions soon, but in the meantime I have more booze for you.
Almost six years ago to the day, on my old site, I offered up a bourbon sour recipe. It involves shaving the skin off a couple lemons with a surgeon’s precision and then letting those skins sit in sugar, while you bash them every so often to release their essential oils. The result is lovely. It also takes a while.
I have not had an exuberance of time, so the world’s most technical sour recipe is not going to cut it theses days. Also, we prepared this new version in batches after my grandmother’s funeral as a tribute to her love of whiskey sours. It more than got the job done.
This is not an overly precious cocktail. But it has a nice citrus backbone, uses ingredients that are easily procured, and avoids those premade mixes that arrive in a parakeet-like hue. It can also be made and drank quickly. The original instructions included an egg white, which these days I leave off. Mostly because I feel too fragile for the threat of salmonella. I suspect this is how my grandmother would have preferred the drink anyway.
Cheers to you, Grammie A.
- 2 ounces whiskey (I still prefer bourbon), see notes
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce simple syrup, see recipe below
- ice (at least 5 cubes)
In a medium saucepan, combine equal parts water and sugar (I typically use a ratio of 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water). Set on medium heat and stir occasionally until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator until needed.
In a cocktail shaker, combine whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup with two or three ice cubes. Shake vigorously (count to 10 while shaking). Strain into a glass with more ice.
Makes one drink
- Two ounces of whiskey makes a cocktail that is on the stronger side. If you prefer a more modest drink, use 1½ ounces of booze instead. Regardless, ice is an important component in this drink, as it helps with dilution. If you are making a big batch of sours, instead of shaking drinks individually with ice, you will want to use the following ratio: 2 ounces whiskey, 1 ounce lemon juice, ¾ ounce simple syrup, and ¼ ounce water per person.
- Recommended bourbons include: Noah’s Mill (note this is slightly higher in alcohol than the others), Four Roses, and Bowman Brothers.
- Occasionally, I make this recipe with a rich simple syrup, which uses a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water. Just depends which version we have in the fridge. Both are good.
- The pictures from my brother's wedding are from Calypso Rae Photography. Please be advised they look even better on her site.