Spring is a confusing time for cocktails. My mind is on gin and tonics and summer ales with an ocean view, but the chilly nights keep me craving bourbon and red wine. When the temperature still gets below freezing and I’m seeing dirty gray piles of snow in every grocery store parking lot, I can’t get down with cool icy drinks.
Bars provide no solace, as most bartenders have yet to switch to their spring menu. I’m still seeing those drinks with figs, black walnut liqueur and apple cider. Like my boots and big sweaters, I’ll always love them, but it’s time for them to go away for a while.
The only solution was to hit my kitchen and experiment. Not being a lover of vodka, I decided to stick with bourbon but lighten it up with some citrus and berries. I landed on a cocktail I’m calling the Sprinter, as we sprint to the finish line of cold, ice and snow. The bourbon will keep the heart warm, but the fruit will guide us to better weather — perfect for those disappointing days between winter and true spring.
2 ounces of your favorite bourbon or whiskey (I’m still loving Ethan Craig Bourbon)
.5 ounce Cointreau
.5 ounce mint simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water, 5 or 6 mint leaves, boiled and cooked down till slightly thick; then remove mint leaves and chill)
A dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
A handful of blackberries
Mint leaf for garnishing
At the bottom of your glass, muddle the blackberries. Add ice.
Combine bourbon, Cointreau, simple syrup and a dash of lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Pour it over the ice and muddled blackberries, and garnish it with a mint leaf and a blackberry.
If you prefer your drinks straight up, put all the ingredients right into the cocktail shaker (including the muddled berries) and strain.