What I’m Drinking Now: Labor Day Refreshers

Tomorrow afternoon starts a wondrous week of wine in the Northwest – Willamette, Walla Walla, Columbia Valley and up to Okanagan and I can’t wait….great wine, but mainly – cooler temperatures…
Though we are teased nightly by our local weathermen with promises that a cooling off is around the corner,  we wait…So here are a few ideas to cool you off this long holiday weekend.  Whether you are indoors or out, by a pool, lake or patio, these tasty cocktails are sure to please. 

September is National Bourbon Month so if you need a special reason to open a bottle of Jim Beam, enjoy a dose of Knob Creek or sip a Wild Turkey, here are a few ideas for mixing:

The Manhattan 101
1 3/4 ounces Wild Turkey Bourbon
1/3 ounce dry vermouth
1/3 ounce sweet vermouth
1 thin slice fresh ginger
3 mint leaves
1/2  tsp powdered sugar
Dash aromatic bitters
Muddle ginger, mint, powdered sugar and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add Wild Turkey Bourbon, vermouth and ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass.

Muddled Creek
2 parts Knob Creek ® Bourbon
Ginger ale, to taste
Splash of triple sec
Muddled orange slice

Combine Knob Creek, ginger ale and triple sec. Serve over ice in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of orange

Washington Apple
½ part Knob Creek Bourbon
½ part DeKuyper® Pucker® Sour Apple Schnapps
½ part cranberry juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a shot glass.

My grandma enjoyed a Jim Beam now and then.  She wanted it simply in a tall glass over ice, with a little Coca-Cola and a splash of water.

We had some friends over last Monday (the 107 degree day) and to cool off our guests as they arrived we made a white peach and blood orange sangria.  Easy and refreshing.

White Peach and Blood Orange Sangria
Two bottles of good white wine (but it doesn’t have to be the best since all the flavors of the sangria will dilute the wine)
1/2 Cup of Orange Liqueur (like Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup sugar
2 large White Peaches – sliced
2 Blood Oranges – sliced
1 lemon – sliced
1.5 liter of orange flavored sparkling water

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large pitcher.  Muddle the fruit a bit to break it up and mix the ingredients and dissolve the sugar.  You can serve now by adding in the sparkling water and the ice, but it can also be chilled w/o the water and ice until you are ready to serve.  Garnish with an orange slice.

I did an event a few weeks ago with The Macallan Scotch.  We started the evening with a classic Rob Roy, and boy was it good….

 Rob Roy
2.5 ounces The Macallan Fine Oak 10
.75 ounces of sweet vermouth
Dash of Angostura bitters
Pour over rocks and garnish with
Lemon zest and Maraschino cherry

We made a Frozen Rose cocktail the other afternoon that was just heavenly.
1 bottle good Rose wine – I used a Spanish one from Tapena made from mostly Garnacha (Grenache) and Monastrell (Mourvedre) that is easy drinking and food friendly with lots of strawberry and cherry flavors.  
2 cups crushed ice for blending
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh strawberries plus extra for garnish
1 cup sparkling water

Blend the first 4 ingredients until smooth and pour into serving glasses. Top each glass with a splash of sparkling water and a strawberry.   I made a grilled romaine, strawberry, walnut and blue cheese salad with this and it was a perfect pairing. 

And since vodka is often on the cocktail list, here is an easy one to say good bye to summer from Ketel One:

Labor Day Lemonade
1 1/4 ounces Ketel One Vodka
1/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce Fresh Grapefruit Juice
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of Grapefruit Bitters

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange slice.


  • Where in the world did you get this Manhattan recipe?

    I’ve heard of the perfect Manhattan (1/2 sweet vermouth, 1/2 dry vermouth) but this recipe looks crazy!

  • mark

    I used to be a Knob Creek guy, I’m hitting the Russell Reserve pretty hard now.

  • Octoberfest

    @SB – It looks like it is from Manhattan, Kentucky.

  • That apple thing looks interesting. But, how do you have three 1/2 parts?

  • Cheesehead

    Are any restaurants or bars doing a Bourbon deal/night in honor of the month – I would love a good reason to go drink some out on the town…

  • luniz

    hmm I might try that manhattan without the mint and sugar…

  • @octoberfest – I’m not sure what you mean by Manhattan, Kentucky is. Unless you’re referring to an actual city. Which doesn’t really answer my question about the origin of this recipe. I did find one reference to it on theluxuryspot.com and they mention it’s from Wild Turkey.

    @luniz – I’m with you. Skip the ginger also.

  • Brandon

    Manhattans are stirred.

  • The Manhattan recipe is from Wild Turkey…maybe this is their way to reinvent Bourbon