Fashionistas say that if you hang onto your old, out-of-style clothes long enough, the trend will come back around and you’ll be happy you’ve kept them. I’ve moved too often to make that practice practical, and anyhow, for every flowered maxi skirt I regret tossing, there’s a striped tube top that will never, ever be stylish again.
The whiskey sour is sort of like that tube top. While bartenders have rediscovered cocktails like the Manhattan and the old fashioned, the whiskey sour remains unappreciated, cast off like an out-of-style shirt buried in the back of the closet.
But unlike the tube top, the whiskey sour deserves to be loved — if it’s made well. The whiskey sours of my younger days were cloyingly sweet and fake-tasting, thanks to cheap sour mix. Using fresh citrus juices is key.
This excellent whiskey sour recipe and photograph are from “The Preppy Cookbook” by well-known New Jersey chef Christine E. Nunn, an old friend of ours who is now the chef at Picnic on the Square in Ridgewood, N.J. (where I lived for 20 years). Ted photographed the book, published in 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Christine’s recipe calls for simple syrup; if you mix cocktails regularly, make a double batch and store it in the fridge.
Let’s not bring back the tube top, but let’s do return the whiskey sour to our cocktail wardrobes. Ever the prep, Christine usually drinks hers wearing madras pants.
From “The Preppy Cookbook:” I think of the whiskey sour as one of those coming-of-age cocktails. It’s sweet, it hides the taste of the whiskey, and it is rather strong. I remember drinking scotch sours that we shook with a powdered mix. This sour is nice and fresh, crisp, and hardens to those college days of yore.
For the simple syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
For the cocktail:
4 ounces Irish or Scotch whiskey (Jameson’s works just dandy)
3 ounces simple syrup
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
Maraschino cherry for garnish
For the simple syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the water to a simmer. Add the sugar and whisk until fully incorporated. Cool.
For the cocktail: Combine all the ingredients, except for the cherry, in a shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously until frothy. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass and garnish with the cherry. Sip with love.