Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cocktail Night! - Whiskey Sour and Long Island Sweet Tea

It's the weekend again!  So what atrocity are Marc and Sallie having for dinner tonight?  How about homemade potato chips?  Hey, we had to try out our new v-blade slicer, and potato chips were the first thing that came to mind.

Labor Day weekend is our anniversary weekend, so there were bound to be indulgences.  Well, actually it's one of our two anniversaries.  Like many military couples, we got married at the courthouse just so we could show Uncle Sam we were legit, and then had an actual family wedding with the cake and the dress and all that a few months later.  Having two anniversaries is great because you have two built-in excuses for going out to dinner, or getting an extra special bottle of wine, or whatever way you feel like celebrating.  It's a pretty cool club to be in.  Plus, we always like to kid about how our courthouse marriage was in one of the few states left in the country to allow first cousins to marry.  (Guess which one!)  Not that Marc and I needed to worry about that, but it makes for good redneck jokes.  Since Marc is from Arkansas, that comes pretty naturally to him.

Friday, our usual cocktail night, became anniversary date night.  We went into Kansas City and had steak au poivre and lamb with chimichurri sauce for $40 a plate, because that's what you do when you've been married for 4 years.  And you didn't realize how expensive the menu was.  Not that I'm really complaining.  The place was awesome, and so was the food.  We had a great time.  And when we came home the dog was so excited that she ran around in circles at the speed of sound inside the living room.  Can't beat that with a stick!

But this also means that by Saturday night, we were both ready to put some effort into a few great cocktails.  When I tried to think of an old timey drink that needed some sprucing up, a whiskey sour popped into my head almost immediately.  Why?  Drink mixes.  You know the kind, the pre-made junk that is the color of nuclear waste in the movies?  Crap in a bottle.  If you love the taste of yellow dye #5, keep on buying the mix.  If you want something that actually has a lemon in it, you can make your own.  It's not hard, and it's infinitely tastier than the pre-packaged.

Old recipes for sours - whiskey, amaretto, or what have you - contain an egg white to make a frothy kind of layer at the top of the glass.  This looks really cool, but seems a bit fussy for the home bartender.  That combined with the fact that Marc once got really sick on raw eggs made me toss that idea out completely.  A traditional sour is also probably going to just have lemon juice and then a simple syrup or gomme syrup.  I always put limes in my sweet and sour mix because for one, I love limes.  Two, I think it just adds another note of tangy-ness and interest to the taste.  So in the end, this isn't terribly "traditional," but that's not really why I started this discussion anyway.

Sweet & Sour Mix

If I'm going to make this, I usually make quite a bit.  Then I just keep it in the fridge and have fun making things out of it here and there.  You can certainly cut the recipe down.

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 6 to 8 lemons
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, about 10 to 12 limes

Pour the water and sugar into a medium sized saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Once all of the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let cool.  Add the juices and stir until well combined.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

So now let's use it!

Whiskey Sour

Use a cocktail glass, which is the one a lot of people think of as a martini glass. The one you see in the pictures is kind of stemless, but you get the idea.  This makes enough for two servings.

6 oz. whiskey
4 oz. sweet & sour mix

Pour the whiskey and sour mix into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake well and strain into two cocktail glasses.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange slice, if desired.

Enjoy your whiskey sour, but don't put that sweet and sour mix away yet!  How about a Long Island Iced Tea?

Probably because there are so many components in this drink, there are a million versions out there.  As far as I know, the original contains white rum, vodka, gin, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and cola.  Or it might be triple sec as opposed to Cointreau.  But anywho......since I already had the sweet and sour mix made up, I swapped it for the lime juice, and since that made it a bit sweeter than normal, we called it a Long Island Sweet Tea.  We also used dark rum because we just really love dark rum, and Grand Marnier instead of the Cointreau since that's what we had on hand.  You could probably stand to go a little less "top shelf" than we did and still have a great drink.  We tend not to keep much that is cheap in our collection so we used some fairly premium stuff.  After his first sip, Marc said, "this is the best Long Island Iced Tea I've ever had."  So there you have it.

Long Island Sweet Tea

Use a highball glass, which is around 10 ounces.  This makes enough for two servings.

1 oz. vodka
1 oz. dark rum (not spiced)
1 oz. gin
1 oz. silver tequila
1 oz. Grand Marnier
2 oz. sweet & sour mix

Fill two highball glasses with ice.  Pour all ingredients except the cola into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake well and strain into the two glasses.  Top up with cola and garnish with a slice of lime.


  1. I would like to see a picture of your v-blade slicer. I'm in the market for one.

  2. This is the one we got -

    I'm surprised it only got 3 out of 5 stars on the reviews because I think it works great!