I am staying with the theme on this Black Friday. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stand in line for tonight’s drink and no one has to fight for it, either. Nope, we have been incorporating Thanksgiving ingredients for the last few days, so tonight we are having leftovers, sort of. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Cranberry Spiced Whiskey Sour.
I am winging it tonight, trying my own riff on a drink I had last year in Hartford, Connecticut at the incomparable Little River Restoratives. If you are ever in the area pop in and try anything from their amazing menu. Tell them Brad sent you to get a complimentary blank stare. While waiting for my erstwhile compatriot to join me for the Jennsgiving celebrations I enjoyed a whiskey sour made with cranberry simple syrup and it was divine, so we are going to give that a shot. I am cheating a bit here and adding some elements that just feel right, based on nothing more than my own questionable intuition. I am also going to feature a wonderful whiskey that I actually bought on Black Friday last year in Brooklyn at King’s County Distillery. Each year they do a limited edition Winter Spice Whiskey that is unlike any other spiced whiskey I have found. It is a less sweet and more complex take on the whole winter spice thing with cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, black peppercorns, clove, and star anise. It is not what you would expect, but is way better than anything else I have found and they really lean into the spices. Let’s make the drink and see how things turn out.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of King’s County Distillery Winter Spiced Whiskey, 1/2 an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3/4 of an ounce of egg white or aquafaba, 1/4 ounce of maple syrup, 1/4 ounce of cinnamon simple syrup and 1/2 an ounce of the juice from the top of grandma’s homemade cranberry sauce from the fridge. See, I told you we were using leftovers tonight. Toss in 2 stabs of Angostura Bitters and one stab of Regan’s Orange Bitters, add some artisanal ice cubes and give it a good shake to the beat of Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender” just to color in those paint by number dreams. After 30 seconds or so, strain the drink from one tin to the other and discard the ice and go for another dry shake. OK, it is technically a reverse dry shake since it comes after the ice, but we are not going to stand on ceremony here. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel. If you are clever you could make some designs in the foam with some bitters. I was not clever, but you could be.
I love this. The licorice notes from the spiced whiskey push through nicely, so nicely that I double checked to make sure I had not grabbed the wrong bitters and accidentally used Peychaud’s. Everything is there though. The cranberry, the cinnamon, the citrus, it all just works and isn’t it pretty. I am going to make this again, with a less interesting whiskey and I am sure it will work equally well. You should make this drink, even if you don’t have grandma’s cranberry sauce leftover. You could easily make some cranberry simple from whole cranberries, and add a little cinnamon and maple to balance it.
There you go, you were going to eat leftovers tonight anyway, so why not drink them as well. It’s not the same as the traditional Jennsgiving celebrations of traipsing all over the eastern seaboard annoying craft bartenders and fine restaurateurs, but it is something. I’m not into this enforced “Home for the Holidays” but even when travel is not prudent, it is nice to be able to go back and relive some of those moments from the road, even if it is in your own kitchen making drinks inspired by your experiences. That’s why we do the things, so we can remember them fondly. So, here’s to the memories made and the ones yet to come. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.