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Classic cocktails, properly made, are a thing of beauty. I remember the first time I tried a proper whiskey sour – I was living in San Francisco and drinking at a bar in North Beach. What a revelation! And so I ordered another. And another. And, well, I couldn’t stop. Eventually the night ended clear across the city at the Lucky 13 with a bowl of Gold Fish crackers (why don’t more bars sell bulk snack food??).
There seems to be an ongoing resurgence of classic cocktails, as well as an ongoing trend of beer cocktails. I’ll admit, I almost always order a beer (fail safe) rather than a fancy drink, but some bars are an exception and some nights call for it. In San Diego, that exception is Polite Provisions. Who can say no to an afternoon crafty cocktail and sliders? I can’t, especially when it’s an easy two block walk from home. As for the night, well, last week was one that warranted bourbon and here’s a cocktail that came from it.
While it may look a bit like raspberry lemonade, there’s nothing sweet sugary it. The tartness of the kriek (I used an Oud Beersel Oude Kriek) and lemon juice add the quintessential pucker balanced by the woodsy sweetness of simple syrup and spicy rye.
Ingredients Makes 1 cocktail
2 oz. bourbon whiskey
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. thyme infused simple syrup*
1 to 2 oz. kriek or framboise**
thyme sprigs for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, vigorously shake together bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Float kriek by pouring over the back of a teaspoon. Garnish with a cherry or lemon slice and a sprig of thyme.
*To make thyme infused simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan with several sprigs of thyme. Bring mixture to a simmer and stir frequently until sugar has fully dissolved. Turn off heat and allow the thyme to mingle for a minimum of 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator.
**Avoid using an overly sweet kriek, such as Lindemans, as the added sugar will create a cocktail reminiscent of a melted popsicle rather than a whiskey sour.