Bourbon, lemonade, ginger, and mint – a perfect drink to sip on a lazy summer evening.
By Bowen Close
My husband and I are in the midst of moving. Sort of. More like selling our stuff, storing the rest, and packing up to travel for a while (which is fantastic but requires an entirely new level of logistical planning in packing). Whew. So as I sit in my kitchen amongst boxes and packing tape and bubble wrap, I keep thinking about how last summer we had all the time in the world to sit on the front porch and drink summery cocktails.
I made this one a lot, since it’s full of so many of my favorite flavors – fresh lemonade, spicy ginger, mint from the backyard. And bourbon, of course. I named it “front porch lemonade.”
Sadly, sitting on the front porch drinking front porch lemonade can’t be really high on our list of priorities right now. We also don’t really have any chairs to sit on or glasses to drink it out of at the moment, which is probably a bigger issue than time.
- 4-5 mint leaves, plus mint sprigs for garnish (if desired)
- 1½ oz. bourbon
- 3 oz. lemonade
- 1 oz. ginger syrup
- 2 cups coarsely chopped ginger (you'll chop more finely in a food processor or blender)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 cups water
- Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker (alternatively, chop leaves and strain out after shaking cocktail).
- Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
- Add bourbon, lemonade, and ginger syrup to cocktail shaker. Shake. Strain into cocktail glasses with ice; garnish with mint sprig (for extra mint scent while drinking).
- Optional: As desired, you can play around with quantities and with extra ingredients – like squeezes of lemon juice, ginger ale, extra simple syrup, or bitters.
- Process chopped ginger in a food processor or blender until minced.
- Place ginger, sugar, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to an active simmer.
- Simmer the mixture for 1 to 1½ hours. After simmering for about 45 minutes, pour the mixture through a mesh sieve or colander to remove the ginger. This can be done at almost any point during the simmering process, based on your preference for spice level. I removed it the first time about 1 hour in, which made it fairly spicy. You could remove it after 30 minutes (or less) if preferred; it’s up to you!
- Continue simmering the mixture until it has reduced to about 4 cups of syrup. You can increase the heat to a boil to speed up the process, if you like. The syrup may be fairly thin, but that’s okay - it will thicken slightly as it cools. Remove from heat, and let cool before pouring into a jar or some other container. This syrup will last at least a few months in the refrigerator.
Bowen Close believes that food should make people happy and healthy, and loves bringing together people with creative, delicious food made from the heart. She loves making farm-inspired, flavorful dishes with sustainable ingredients - whether that's a big plate of roasted veggies, a towering chocolate layer cake, or a cocktail utilizing backyard ingredients - and collects recipes and other food-related stories on her website, Bowen Appétit. She is a chef, cooking instructor, and food writer living in Southern California with her husband and fully stocked pantry.