The word “cheers” has been a major part of my vocabulary for a while now. I ‘cheers’ to accomplishments, to friends and always to Fridays. There is no shortage of the salutation in my life, not now and hopefully not ever. For that I am very thankful!
This got me thinking about the upcoming holiday and how I believe the true unsung hero of Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings is the cocktail. It swoops in to save our sometimes awkward family arguments and brings everyone together to celebrate each other - differences and all. So, for these three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving we decided to share a few different cocktail recipes fit for any and all gatherings.
First up in our fall cocktail series is my new personal favorite — the whiskey sour. I fell in love right away, even before the first sip. The beautiful pastel rose color pouring into my glass made me scream the words, "OH MY GOSH!" and if the aesthetic wasn’t enough already, the frothy sweet flavor totally did me in. I love putting a slightly unexpected twist on the traditional by combining tried and true recipes with new and unexpected ingredients. In this case I decided to make a classic whiskey sour (bonus points for your cool new party trick of using an egg white in a cocktail!) but added luscious and rich Luxardo cherries.
Luxardo cherries are divine. There is really no other word to describe them. They are deeply and richly flavored and you can taste their quality as soon as the little fruits hit your tongue. Slightly sweet and tart, they’re named for where they are made in Luxardo, Italy and are produced with sour Marasca cherries preserved in the liqueur from the fruit. They are decadent, fancy, and sure to impress. I promise you they beat out Maraschino cherries any day of the week. I say this as someone who spent their childhood dipping nearly my entire hand into the Maraschino cherry jar to fish out handfuls of the bright red syrup-covered fruit. (I was grossly obsessed!)
While I STRONGLY suggest whipping up this easy cocktail for guests, there are still a few tricks and tips to setting up a great holiday bar:
- Have the basics: Rum, Gin, Vodka, and Bourbon/Whiskey. With those four you can’t go wrong and don't have to fuss over specialty liquors.
- Juice and soda: mixers don't have to be fancy but providing Coke, Ginger Ale, and OJ will give your guests the luxury of choice. Throw in something like Ginger Beer or Tonic for even more choices!
- Have ample ice: you could buy an ice bucket (maybe like this trendy copper one from Target, or this neat mid-century one from Etsy!) or just make sure your ice machine is doing its thing. Either way, be sure your guests get to enjoy their cocktails chilled!
- Garnish: Obviously I support splurging on Luxardos (they are great in an Old Fashioned or gin & tonics!) but you could also place a few types of citrus on your bar cart. Lemons, limes, and oranges are always a good bet, just be sure you also provide a knife and small cutting board so your guests can slice their own garnish. If you pre-slice the citrus it is likely to dry out!
Make sure to check back next week for a cocktail recipe from Katie before I'm back with our final installment of the cocktail series on the 23rd! And remember to say cheers this fall!
- Shake all ingredients together without ice, in order to emulsify the egg white.
- Add ice to the shaking tin and shake again to chill the drink. Strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherries.
*When I say Luxardo syrup, I'm referring to the syrup from inside the jar of Luxardo cherries! If you're wondering where to get them, most high end liquor stores sell them, but I got mine from William Sonoma or you could order from Amazon too!