Brown liquors are a bracing defense in winter, a tonic of liquid embers to stave off the relentless cold and snow. Nothing beats a swirling shot of sipping whiskey to dilate capillaries after a walk with the dogs at nine below zero. The smoky amber glow of bourbon, rye, or spiced rum even looks warming and they lend themselves to so many cozy cocktails.
The summer season calls for light clothes, light food, and clear booze with ice. Gin and tonic, mojitos, margaritas, vodka collins, all refreshing and nonstaining on summer whites. However, in this era of wacky tariffs that threaten the most cherished of American libations, Kentucky bourbon, and at a time when I’m in no mood to celebrate vodka or anything Russian, let us revisit summer whiskey. (French or Swedish vodkas are fine, or go with all-American Tito’s from Texas.)
There is the classic Mint Julep or Whiskey Sour, both rightly revered, but during the sweaty dog days of August, my favorite Kentucky answer to all those pale hooch summer cocktails is the Bourbon Slush. Cold, sweet,
refreshing, and seemingly benign, they go down a treat. They can also make you go down like a rope. Imbibe with moderation, no matter how seductive the citrusy sweetness.
You can’t make just one Bourbon Slush; you make a vat of them. Keep the ice chip concoction in the freezer, always at the ready for guests, sultry afternoons, or fraught days.
They are sweet enough to serve as a refreshing dessert. Sip them slowly and the world stays sweet, too.
Bourbon Slush Recipe
- Nine cups of water
- Three black tea bags
- 2 cups sugar
- One 12-ounce can lemonade concentrate
- 6 ounces orange juice concentrate
- Two cups of bourbon
- Something fizzy to top the slush- 7-up, ginger ale, tonic water, or club soda if you want to cut the sweetness, or champagne if you’re feeling posh.
Bring two cups of the water to a a boil, then steep the tea bags for ten minutes. Remove the bags and add the sugar to make a simple syrup with the black tea.
Combine the remaining seven cups of water with the other liquids, except the fizzy topper, in a large freezable container, and add the tea syrup. Mix and freeze overnight. Scoop the granita-like slush into glasses and top with the carbonated beverage of choice. Let the thorny world go by for a bit.