What’s Cocktail Hour? Most Fridays at 4 PM I run a popup bar for my company, usually featuring 4 cocktails centered on some ludicrously vague theme. It’s a good exercise in bar logistics, menu planning and high speed cocktail production (my employees are thirsty and ready to cut loose by Friday afternoon, so it’s about 45 drinks in 90 minutes). We’ve recently started capturing feedback on surveys to get an idea of what people like!
In honor of summer solstice, we’re doing drinks that use the fruits of summer.
Strawberry Solstice (Score: 92.86%)
2 oz Gin
1/3 oz Green Chartreuse
2/3 oz Lime Juice
1/3 oz Simple Syrup
1 Large Strawberry
6 Basil Leaves
1 Egg White (OMITTED)
Serve up in a coupe with Basil garnish (slap the basil leaf to release its oils)
Strawberry Solstice was a recipe from Reddit called Strawberry Fields, but I nixed the egg white and the name (because it’s too obvious and also brings on horrible jokes like “I could drink this FOREVER … 8 DAYS A WEEK … etc). It’s a light, refreshing gin drink that uses fresh strawberries and gets herbal notes from fresh basil and Green Chartreuse.
This cocktail was SUPER popular and got demolished quickly. It also looked great in the glass and would look even better with the egg white. I already had an egg white drink on today’s menu and didn’t want to get slowed down even further with a second one, especially since I usually do a reverse dry shake (which honestly creates too much foam but looks great and is easier to pour at the end of the process if you’re shaking them in bulk)
Cranberry Whiskey Sour (Score: 83.33%)
2 oz bourbon
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz egg white
0.75 oz cranberry juice (UNSWEETENED)
Peychaud Bitters to top
Cranberry Sour is a cranberry spin on your classic Whiskey Sour with egg white. Unsweetened cranberry juice (often hidden in the organic section) is a must. The bitters SHOULD be Angostura (classic for whiskey sours) but Peychaud’s just matched the color better, so I cheated there. My trusty go-to Evan Willliams Bottled In Bond (the 100 proof white label) was used for the bourbon.
As usual, I pre-separated the egg whites and put them in a squeeze bottle and measure them out precisely. Egg whites radically affect the mouthfeel of a drink and egg sizes vary dramatically so I’ve never understood recipes that simply call for “one egg white”.
I’m EGG-ANAL, and proud of it.
PROTIP: Use this guy to make egg white separating a LOT easier
PERMANENT HOLIDAY (Score: 90.00%)
1 oz Bourbon (Four Roses Yellow)
0.75 oz Averna
1/2 oz Licor 43
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (Ruby Red)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
Serve Over crushed ice
Permanent Holiday is a “modern tiki” drink that includes distinctive ingredients like Licor 43 (a vanilla liqueur), Averna (a not-too-bitter amaro) and passionfruit syrup.
I was really glad to finally use the Licor 43 that I’d bought over a year ago. With the unusual mix of ingredients I wasn’t 100% sure this drink would be as popular as it was – I’m beginning to suspect putting ANYTHING over crushed ice gives a drink an unfair advantage
RITA LEE 10 servings (Score: 58.33%)
1.5oz silver cachaça (Novo Fogo) – I used white rum
.5oz Del Maguey Vida mezcal
.5oz lime juice
.5oz grapefruit juice
.5oz passionfruit syrup
.25oz Luxardo maraschino
Rita Lee is a real oddball – I substituted rum for the Cachaça and there’s also mezcal, fresh grapefruit, passionfruit syrup and Luxardo cherry liqueur. It’s complex but easy on the palate.
Lorri and I quite liked this drink but once again the mezcal just threw people, even in a drink that used it as subtly as this one. Beginners to mezcal can be REALLY sensitive to the smoke and I suspect our years of peat & Scotch have made mezcal seem tame to us in comparison.