Taste the American West with a Cowboy Shandy

“I live in a constant endeavour to fence against the infirmities of ill health, and other evils of life, by mirth; being firmly persuaded that every time a man smiles,—but much more so, when he laughs, it adds something to this Fragment of Life.”

― Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy

Mirth and laughter maketh a man, they say. But, it was this very mirth and this very novel that is touted to have given birth to a drink that goes by the name of ‘shandy’. Some say that King Henry VIII might have accidentally discovered a beer shandy one evening and attempted to drown his kingly woes in the blend. Whatever the tale may be, there’s no denying that a beer shandy is as delightful a drink on a hot summer’s day as a glass of mama’s tangy lemonade. In fact, one can call the beer shandy an adult’s version of the docile lemonade. Many variations of the drink have quenched many a parched throats over the years, here’s a version with whisky in it, cuz’ whisky always makes life better.

The Process

You’d need a big pour (60 ml, of course) of your favourite Ballantine’s Scotch whisky. Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky makes for a particularly lethal combination in the Shandy, thanks to its full-bodied, apple and vanilla flavoured palate with hints of floral sweetness. Once the whisky bit of it is sorted, gather 20 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 20 ml of simple syrup, and 250 ml of chilled beer. Add the whisky, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a chilled glass. Top with the beer, stir gently. Plop in a handful of ice-cubes. Add a twist of lemon peel to the glass and your Cowboy Shandy is ready to rock!

Put on a John Ford, call your boys, put your feet up and enjoy a lazy, boozy weekend


WARM, SPICED BOURBON CIDER: THE PERFECT AUTUMN COMPANION

If you’re not so smitten with the nippy fall and the gloomy winter months, the oh-so-comforting seasonal cider can provide a welcome respite. A hot, fortified cider is not just a tonic for chilly winter days. Add a generous splash of bourbon and it can reinvigorate the life and soul of any dinner party or soiree. In fact, whether you are snuggled up next to a campfire under the stars or on the sofa, reading a book, this cocktail makes for a perfect companion. The expansive warmth envelopes you instantly, and the spicy and citrusy notes tantalizes your taste buds. Don’t worry, the bourbon’s presence will not be lost in the mix. And the best thing about this ultimate crowd pleaser? You can build on the spiciness and add more heat or experiment with your choice of bourbon for unique flavour dimensions. Modify the recipe per your tastes, and you may just have the makings of a family tradition that will carry you into many a holiday season.

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ONE FOR LOVERS OF TEA: EARL GREY BOURBON COCKTAIL

You’ve watched long leaves unfurl and elegantly swirl in a steaming cup of golden fluid. You’ve taken a long sip, and marvelled at the heady aroma of a first flush. Dainty patterns of blue flowers on smooth white porcelain, you’ve lovingly laid your tea-set for a lazy evening soiree. But have you ever wondered about the first time a cup of tea brewed? Tales of tea are many, and of them some go back all the way to China. It is said that a few leaves fell into a pot boiling hot water while Emperor Shen Nung’s troops were resting near a tea bush, giving the world its first taste of tea. Other rumours have it that Bodhidharma, upon waking up from a sleep that lasted 9 years cut his own eyelids apart. Those fell to the ground and the first tea bushes grew from his lashes. Next time you have company for tea, you’ve tales to tell. To add to the charm of tea, here’s a cocktail that blends the elegance of tea with the warm embrace of whisky. The world of whisky is your oyster when choosing a bourbon for this recipe. The fresh, fruity flavours of the Peach Mist Canadian Mist Blended Whisky work like a charm with blackberries and Earl Grey

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BOBBY BURNS COCKTAIL: A WARMING WHISKY TALE

Perhaps it’s fitting that a cocktail be named after Scotland’s national poet – Robert Burns. After all, Scotch is arguably the country’s most significant contribution to the world. The drink is said to have originated during the early part of 20th century at the famed Waldorf Bar on New York’s 5th Avenue. A number of lyrics by Scotland’s national poet form part of the drinking songs repertoire across the English speaking world. In fact, modern singers like Bobby Vinton, Luke Kelly or Dropkick Murphys seem to be carrying forward his rich and enviable legacy. Though the constituents are rumoured to have changed over the years, malt whiskey remains the mainstay. One can however substitute Benedictine with Absinthe or Drambuie.

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