Ever since he learned how to make a basic whiskey sour—simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and whiskey—my boyfriend, Alexis, has been carefully refining his recipe. So when we see a variation on the classic on a cocktail menu, we’re sure to order a few rounds in the name of “research.” With each new whiskey sour we sample, he’ll borrow elements from the drink and incorporate them into his own master recipe, whipping up concoctions until the drink is just right. Several additions later, our at-home whiskey sour is far from basic: maple syrup replaces the simple syrup, for the way it enhances the flavors of the whiskey; muddled maraschino cherries bump up the sweetness, while a few dashes of orange bitters bring depth and balance. The inspiration for the latest addition, Lillet Rouge, a French apéritif wine from the Bordeaux region, is thanks to New York’s Lafayette restaurant. There, dining at the bar (the best seats in the house for cocktail inspiration), we took mental notes as we watched the bartender shake up a round of Bordeaux sours, their own twist on Alexis’ favorite drink—a frothy, rosy-hued cocktail that they make with bourbon, Lillet Rouge, lemon, agave, and egg white. When we tried adding Lillet Rouge to Alexis’ recipe, it turned out to be the missing ingredient, the Lillet rounding out the cocktail with its full, fruity flavor. Paired with a juicy grilled steak and simple sides, it’s the perfect way to ease into the weekend, and the meal we most look forward to at the end of a busy week.
Friday Cocktails: Alexis’ Bordeaux Sour