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Ever since my South African friend made me a special ‘hot toddy‘ with milk and whiskey when I was suffering with a cold this past winter, I have fallen in love with whiskey. I am not much of a drinker but there is something very retro about whiskey-based cocktails. Maybe it is because of the show Mad Men but I find everything about whiskey these days very seductive!
We have some very interesting mix-ology type bars here in Austin and lately I have gotten to taste some amazing cocktails made with whiskey. I had a fun night out with Courtney of The Polivka Family during her trip to Austin last spring trying all kinds of amazing drinks made with house made bitters, maraschino cherries, absinthe and everything in between.
There is more out there than Vodka Tonic?
I realized that those many years of beer and rum and Cokes left me lacking in my knowledge of traditional cocktail making. I focus so much on homemade, traditionally prepared food, that I did not even stop to consider the world of traditional cocktails! Now I was hooked! Problem is, these bars are not inexpensive and with how much I work, I do not really get out much.
How could I make my favorite whiskey cocktails at home?
I realized I had the answer on my laptop! A few months back I ordered Kendahl of Our Nourishing Roots’ eBook, Natural Cocktails. It sounded so interesting at the time but I, of course, got busy and filed it away never to be seen again! Silly me. I am planning for my Labor Day BBQ on Monday and so I dusted it off and perused through the entire book. This book is absolutely incredible. Not only does it include every cocktail recipe known to man, it also includes pretty much every thing you would ever need to flavor, modify, infuse, mix and garnish a cocktail!
And these recipes are not ones you can find via a Google search. This book has shown me how to truly do cocktails real foodie style. There is no stone left unturned. Bored with plain old club soda? Why not use water kefir? Did you know you can make your own maraschino cherries? And how about making your own homemade Bloody Mary with lacto-fermented homemade Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce?! Now I see that you can make all of these things! And you can bet I will be making many of these recipes now that I know how!
I went a little crazy and did just that. I made my favorite drink to start off my adventures in natural cocktail making: a Whiskey Sour. I even made the maraschino cherries as a garnish.
Homemade Whiskey Sour Recipe
This recipe is from the Natural Cocktails eBook by Kendahl of Our Nourishing Roots
- 2 ounces whiskey
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce Honey Syrup
- slice orange, for garnish
- maraschino cherry (see how-to below – this was almost too easy to believe), for garnish
Shake all ingredients very hard with ice to create a foamy texture, then strain into a short glass filled with ice. Garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Maraschino Cherry Recipe
This recipe is from the Natural Cocktails eBook by Kendahl of Our Nourishing Roots. This recipe makes 1 quart of maraschino cherries.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, washed, keeping the stems and pits intact
- 1 cup Maraschino liqueur
Pack the cherries into pint-sized jars leaving one inch head-space in the jars.
Pour the maraschino liqueur over the cherries, making sure they are completely covered. Cover the jars tightly with a lid, and leave at room temperature in a dark place for one week. Every day, swirl the jar a little.
After a week, transfer to the refrigerator. The cherries will keep for several weeks.
This eBook is one of the 30 eBooks in the VGN End of Summer eBook Bundle which means you can snag your copy for under $1.50 this week only!
What Else Will I Learn from Natural Cocktails?
- How to stock your home bar with the essentials, how to cut a spiral garnish for cocktails, and what it means to serve a drink “up”.
- The differences between liquors and liqueurs, and how to make your own liqueurs like Irish Cream and Coffee Liqueur.
- How to make your own homemade bitters, maraschino cherries, cocktail onions and olives, infused citrus vodka, various liqueurs, ginger beer, lacto-fermented root beer and cola, lemonade, tonic water, and more!
- How to make the ‘Basic Seven’: The Martini, The Manhattan, The Old-Fashioned, The Daiquiri, The Sidecar, The Jack Rose, and The Margarita
- How to make real food versions (read: no HFCS laden mixers!) of contemporary drinks like The Appletini, The Cosmopolitan, The White Russian, The Champagne Cocktail, The Sazerac, The Strawberry Frozen Daiquiri, The Mudslide, and many, many more.
- How to make very simple drinks like Whiskey & Soda, Pink Gin, and Mimosa, so you can focus on your family, guests, or conversation without needing a cocktail shaker.
- How to make your favorite holiday cocktails like Eggnog, Hot Toddies, Grogg, and Spiced Cider
Natural Cocktails also has a very nicely organized index so you can easily find what you are looking for when you discover a random bottle of spiced rum in the back of your pantry!