Happy Hour: Whisky Sour


In a new drink-themed blog series, Happy Hour, Arkansas native Ben Franks will share his recipes and expertise. Ben tends the bar at Petit & Keet in Little Rock, but he learned the tricks of the trade all over the country. In this post, Ben shares his favorite way to make a whisky sour.

The origin of the whisky sour is classic story of threes. The three traditional components of this drink are whisky, citrus and sugar. Sometime in the 1700s, the British Royal Navy discovered that a lemon a day kept the scurvy away. Lemon juice by itself is not the most palatable drink, so, as sailors do, they began mixing the lemon with grog (weak beer) or rum.

Fast forward to the mid-1800s, when this cocktail hits land and works its way inland to the local pubs. During this time, we find the first written recipes of whisky sours from Elliot Stubb and Jerry Thomas. Here we can insert the classic cocktail history debate of “Who done it first?”

One of my favorite variations on this classic is a drink we make at Petit & Keet called the Miss B’s. We take the traditional model of threes, then add a french aperitif, Bonal. This aperitif, which has been around since the 1800s, was an original sponsor of the Tour de France. Bonal adds a black tea flavor to this cocktail and reminds me of after-church luncheons with jugs of sweet tea lemonade bought from local stores. Come try our version of an this time-honored cocktail or make it yourself at home.

All you need is:

2 ounces honey whisky
1 ounce Bonal
1 ounce lemon juice

Combine all three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, then pour into a glass. Garnish your drink with a lemon wheel and a cherry. Enjoy.

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