I love a good cocktail. Trouble is, it’s not always easy to find one. While there are now countless artisanal bars serving drinks of all varieties, both modern and old, the reality is that you can’t expect to find an outstanding cocktail at an average bar. Take for example the classic, whiskey sour. Order one up at your local neighborhood dive and your guaranteed to be poured a neon yellow concoction topped with an equally garish maraschino cherry. Odds are it will taste comparable to battery acid with a look and viscosity of Lysol – yes, I despise sours mix that much. Having endured my fair share of hangovers at the hands of these sickly sweet spirits, I’ve come to believe that that stuff might just be worse for you than the booze in the glass.
Enter, the Rhodie. A refreshing take on the old standby, but without a drop of sours mix in sight. Here, quality bourbon is shaken with fresh lemonade, tart Meyer lemon juice and a splash of grade-A maple syrup for a concoction that delivers all the sweet/sour qualities of the original. Served up and free of any of those formaldehyde cherries, the Rhodie is a pure expression of bright, refreshing lemon on a background of sweet, caramelized bourbon and maple syrup. One sip and you’ll have a hard time going out for drinks ever again.
It’s not difficult to make an expert cocktail at home. The better your ingredients are before they go into the shaker, the better you end product will be. All you need is good, clean-tasting ice, fresh homemade lemonade, ripe Meyer Lemons and top quality bourbon and maple syrup. If I want to get really fancy, I’ll strain my cocktail from the shaker through a fine mesh sieve in order to catch any stray pieces of ice or pulp. This produces a drink of superior texture and clarity. Still want an awesome drink but can’t be bothered to source the above mentioned ingredients? Grab yourself some store-bought lemonade, a couple of Eureka lemons grade-B maple syrup and any old bottle of whiskey and you’ll still have a better cocktail than what you’re likely to find in most bars. If you decide to go with conventional lemons, just be sure to adjust for their relative acidity by adding a splash more maple syrup for balance.
- 2 ounces Bulleit bourbon (or other quality bourbon)
- 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (see Note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, or more to taste
- 2 ounces fresh lemonade
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice.
- Add all of the ingredients, secure the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds until the contents are frosty and iced cold.
- Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a glass and serve immediately.
Makes 1 strong cocktail or two small