As we continue to celebrate all things Kentucky pre-Derby, this
Friday Night Cocktail is a twist on the classic Whiskey Sour,
substituting the distinctive Meyer Lemon for the traditional standard
lemon. John Byrd, a great resource for Embury, bartender at Dressler and one of the Brooklyn Barmen team, came up with this one after we were
discussing the drinks in the 1952 film The Mating Season. Thelma Ritter whips up
a giant batch of whiskey sours that kicks a house party Gene Tierny is
hosting into high gear. I wondered if there were something to make a sour a
bit more approachable for the novice whiskey drinker, particularly in a party context, and John proposed this
persuasive update with the seasonal Meyer. In the film Ritter raisese the subtle distinction between making a whiskey sour sweet or sour, and the Meyer, allegedly a cross between a mandarin and a lemon, mananges to split the difference between the extremes-in fact, in deference to the film, you might say it mates them--and as luck would have
it, it's Meyer season.
MEYER LEMON WHISKEY SOUR
2oz. of Rye or Bourbon (John favors Jim Beam Rye) .5oz. of simple syrup Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon Shake and strain Garnish with cherry & orange
I wasn't certain if John had intended for this to be served up or on the rocks or up and while waiting for a response to an e-mailed query I consulted the film, where they drink their sours up (although possibly blended, it's a bit unclear). Then I heard back from John: "I always like body in my drink so I never strain the juice, and on the rocks is nice or in tall glass with some soda." I'd already shot (and drank) the cocktail above when I got that and I can confirm that it works up. J.R.
also does a version with tangerine: "This one is almost
the same but I backed off on the simple syrup because the tangerines I
had were pretty sweet. Taper it off with a touch of Meyer or lemon."
At Embury we take the general attitude that brunch is a no-fly zone. As Adam Sachs
astutely points out in the March GQ, it's an amateur's ritual
distinguished by watery mimosas, fake-farmy restaurants and hangovers
with strangers. I just got to lunch and drink. But when Embury's friend
Greg Needham started sending over scans of spirit ads and articles from 1960s Playboys (back issues are online here ) and I saw Smirnoff's imaginative take on brunch I said: table for one please, and yes, I'll wait at the bar. J.R.