Bourbon Cherry Lemonade? Heck Yeah!

I’ll make this snappy because the cocktail I’m about to share with you is so marvelous that I don’t want to keep you at your desk. In fact, I’d like you to walk away from your computer and start mixing RIGHT NOW (after all, it’s Friday). Seriously, if I could come up with a way to pour a batch of Donald Link's Bourbon cherry lemonade through your wireless router, I would, and you would all thank me very much and beg me for a refill, please Madame.

Bourbon still life. (Kim O'Donnel)

As a bourbon purist -- neat, with a waterback -- I’m a bit taken aback by my new-found love for a bourbon-y cocktail, but unlike an Old-Fashioned and even a Manhattan, this backyard party in a glass is spunky rather than syrupy, and dare I say it, refreshing.

Link’s recipe calls for sweet cherry juice, which is not the same as Maraschino gunk. Until cherries come into season here in Washington state, I’ll stick to my very reliable Plan B, a few ounces of R.W. Knudsen's “Just Black Cherry,” which is nothing but cherry nectar (available at Whole Foods for about $4, and I’d love to hear where else you may find it). Into the shaker it goes with your favorite bourbon and some crushed ice, then you top things off with your favorite lemonade. (When I don’t make my own, I’m a fan of Santa Cruz Organic, sold in 32-ounce bottles.)

So go on and get your fixins. You can thank me on Monday.

Bourbon Cherry Lemonade
From "Real Cajun" by Donald Link

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) Woodford Reserve or bourbon of your choice
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet cherry juice
Lemonade, as needed
Bourbon-soaked maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)

Fill a Collins glass (or comparably-sized glass) with crushed ice. Combine bourbon, cherry juice and crushed ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously, then strain into Collins glass. Top off with fresh lemonade and garnish with a cherry, if using.

Drink, rinse, repeat. (KOD: Those are my instructions!)

Makes 1 drink.

By Kim ODonnel |  May 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET Wine and Spirits
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I am not usually a fan of adulterating good bourbon, but this may be worth making an exception. Our summer drink of choice has been either a caipirinha (when I have cachaca) or a mojito and this would be a nice, slightly fruity alternative that might even get my wife's attention.

Posted by: skipper7 | May 15, 2009 9:10 AM

Hey Kim: I assume you make this with still lemonade? What about some of those sparkling varieties?

Posted by: NoMad3 | May 15, 2009 10:36 AM

Yes, please!

Posted by: Elizabeth_Terry | May 15, 2009 10:42 AM

NoMad3, interesting question. I did make it with still lemonade. If you can find a sparkling variety that isn't too sweet, I say go for it -- and be sure to report back! Have a good weekend.

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | May 15, 2009 10:46 AM

FYI...I found the Knudsen's cherry nectar at Wegman's last night and made up a pitcher of these. They were delightful and even my wife, who simply can't stand bourbon, was hooked.

Posted by: skipper7 | May 16, 2009 9:28 AM

Hey Kim,

Looks good and on this hot Colorado weekend, going to pull out a bottle of Stranahans and give it a shot.

Only question: why would anyone make only one?!?!

Posted by: 12thManTrainingTable | May 17, 2009 8:17 AM

Wow, this recipe was good. we enjoyed a couple of these during Preakness hour, and gave our son a mocktail version. Big hit all around. Next time, I might add some seltzer for variation.

Posted by: jayef | May 18, 2009 10:13 AM

Just the other day was enjoying an Arnold Palmer (half tea/half lemonade) with Stranahan's - what should I call it? Other than Delicious, I mean.

An A.P. Stranahan?


Posted by: ldgourmet | May 20, 2009 11:20 PM

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