It's Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps you, like me, headed to the grocery store with intentions of merrily traversing the aisles, filling your cart with a supply of ingredients that would keep you cooking, baking, and grilling all weekend. But unlike me, I hope you did not wait until late Friday afternoon to make that trip, finding yourself trying to maneuver between extra-wide stock carts and the seemingly several hundred other people in the store. If you did, then I'm sorry, and you likely emerged an hour and a half later and in serious need of a drink. This post is for you.
I'm a fan of good craft cocktails, but I'll admit that when it comes to making them myself, I often get stuck in a rut, making the same few over and over again. This amaretto bourbon punch was a delightfully refreshing change. (And, bonus, it made use of my Costco-awesome giant bottle of Knob Creek bourbon.) It's perfect for sipping during summer day gatherings and easy enough to make for a crowd if needed.
Note: When making cocktails, I prefer to add my liquor prior to putting ice cubes in the glass. It gives me a better understanding of how much liquor I'm using and generally improves my ability to accurately free-pour when a jigger isn't available. If this isn't a concern for you, feel free to go the more traditional route and add ice cubes first.
Amaretto Bourbon Punch
Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe
Yields 1 cocktail
(For punch bowl proportions, click here, but note that I made adjustments to the single-glass recipe below, so taste and adjust accordingly.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 ounces bourbon
1 1/2 ounces sparkling apple juice
3/4 ounce amaretto
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons simple syrup
Sparkling seltzer water, to top
Garnish: Maraschino cherry and lemon wedge
To make the simple syrup:
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly and until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool completely. Syrup may be stored covered in the refrigerator for a week.
To make the cocktail:
Add the bourbon, sparkling apple juice, amaretto, and lemon juice to a cocktail glass. Add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup. Fill the glass 3/4 full with ice cubes. Top off with seltzer and stir lightly. Taste and add 1 additional teaspoon of simple syrup if you desire a sweeter cocktail. Garnish with a cherry and a lemon wedge.