Chantal Tseng, the founder of Cocktails for End Times and formerly the bar manager and senior bartender at the now-closed Mockingbird Hill in Washington, D.C., created this bright bourbon sour, a close relative of the Boston classic cocktail Ward Eight, which also uses whiskey, two citrus juices and an unexpected sweetener.
She starts off by making a Wassail, a traditional warming harvest drink, with brown ale and oloroso sherry. “I'm a huge fan of making wassail or mulled ale in the early winter,” she says.
She then reduces the leftover wassail to make a richly spiced syrup. “Mulled ale is already on its way to being a syrup,” she says, figuring she might as well take it the rest of the way for cocktail use.
Be careful when reducing the Wassail for the syrup. “Remember, as far as temperature goes, always keep it low and on a simmer at most,” says Tseng. “Try to avoid boiling the mixture to preserve the wine’s characteristics.”
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon (or brandy)
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce wassail syrup*
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: lemon twist
- Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg
Add the bourbon, wassail syrup, lemon and orange juices, and bitters into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Express the oils from a lemon twist over the drink, then drop the twist into the glass.
Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
*Wassail syrup: Make Wassail as specified in recipe. After enjoying separately as desired, strain out and discard solids from leftover Wassail. Add to a pot and gently simmer to reduce for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool before using.