WHISKY SOUR

ABOUT THE WHISKEY SOUR COCKTAIL

Spirit, sugar, citrus—the original big three—come together in the Whiskey Sour, whose history stretches back to the Lincoln administration. Few drinks in the cocktail canon are as quick to satisfy and endlessly mutable as the Whiskey Sour. Add a flourish to any component, and you have your own personal spin on the classic. We like our Whiskey Sour thickened with egg white and a few dashes of aromatic bitters for a complementary spice note.

INGREDIENTS IN THE WHISKEY SOUR COCKTAIL

  • Garnish:  Angostura bitters
  • Glass: Coupe

HOW TO MAKE THE WHISKEY SOUR COCKTAIL

  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a coupe.
  3. Garnish with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.

OTHER INFORMATION:

Watch top mixologist Brooke Arthur make a proper Whiskey Sour in our How to Cocktail video.

COCKTAIL PROFILE

Flavor : Sour Sweet 
Base Spirit : Bourbon / American Whiskey 
Cocktail Type : Classics 
Served : On the Rocks 
Preparation : Shaken 
Strength : Medium 
Difficulty : Medium 
Hours : Dinner/Paired with food Evening 
Brands : Angostura George Dickel 

SOBER OCTOBER

Giving up alcohol completely is no easy task. After all, cracking open a frosty one or pouring out a dram of your favourite whisky at the end of a hard day’s work is one of life’s great pleasures. It is, however, a pleasure that can hit your health hard if you overindulge.

It would seem that many people are taking the health risks of alcohol on board, with 13% of adults saying that have stopped going for a drink with one friend because they believe that pal drinks too much, according to research from Macmillan Cancer Support.

The research also suggests that there is a shift among young adults to socialising without alcohol, a trend Macmillan has called “soberlising”. Let’s be honest, that name probably won’t catch on, but the trend might – in fact, one in eight young adults doesn’t drink at all.

If the idea of going completely cold turkey on alcohol sounds horrendous to you, trying a sober month might be a better option. If you need further convincing that joining in with Macmillan’s Go Sober for October campaign is a good idea, we’ve got some pro advice that might just make your mind up for you.

In support of Go Sober for October, we asked nurse John Newlands and fitness expert Matt Kendrick to detail eight eye-opening health and fitness benefits that you can expect to enjoy when taking a break from the beer, covering everything from a happier mood and a slimmer waistline to better sex, a handsomer face and a drive to rediscover your top fitness levels.

RECOMMENDED: Sober Survival Tips from Coach Readers

You’ll Wake Up Feeling Awesome

Just as day follows night, an unshakeable fatigue follows a big session on the booze because getting a solid night’s kip is tricky with one too many beers inside you. “Alcohol interrupts your normal sleep pattern, so waking up after a few hours or feeling exhausted the next day is common,” says Newlands. “Taking a break from alcohol will enable you to get better-quality sleep, ultimately giving you more energy.” Expect to achieve more at work, smash some running PBs and be in a better mood.

The Person You Sleep Next To Will Wake Up Feeling Awesome

If you’re commonly accused of taking a buzzsaw to bed, a sober October should help you keep it in the shed where it belongs. Let Newlands explain: “On top of interrupting your normal sleep pattern, alcohol also relaxes your throat muscles which causes you to snore when you do get to sleep. Taking a break for a while could help you, and your partner, get a better night’s kip.”

RECOMMENDED: How to Stop Snoring

You’ll Dodge The Biscuits

Ever wondered why you want to eat utter trash when drunk or hungover? “Alcohol plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, causing your body to crave sugar and starchy foods. Staying off the booze will give you a much better chance of making healthier food choices,” says Kendrick.

RECOMMENDED: How Many Calories in a Kebab?

You’ll Find a New Level of Training Motivation

Every failed miserably at dragging your sorry behind to the gym with a groggy head? Of course you have. We all have. “A hangover write off the whole day and leave you feeling lazy, lethargic and absolutely not wanting to train,” says Kendrick. Waking up fresh will boost your levels of motivation and, Kendrick adds, “reducing the calories that alcohol brings means you can look forward to more effective training and better results.”

You’ll Shed The Midriff Bulge

And finally, one for all of us who look at ourselves in the mirror each morning and grip our beer bellies in sheer frustration. That food baby’s coming off, champ. “Alcohol mobilises insulin, a fat-storing hormone, which can lead to the production of fat cells around the middle,” Kendrick explains. “You’ll be amazed how quickly your waistline starts to shrink when you bin the booze.”

RECOMMENDED: The Best 4-Week Diet Plan is No Booze

You’ll Look Handsomer

When you finally succumb to the urge and “break the seal” in the pub, it’s not only your internal plumbing that you’re putting under strain. It’s your skin, too. “Alcohol is a toxin that makes you go to the loo more often. It also makes your kidneys work harder and your liver has to go into overtime to break it down,” Newlands explains. “This leads to dehydration, which can cause dry, flaky skin.”

You’ll Banish Embarrassing Sex

Cue the gut-wrenching flashbacks… “Sadly, brewer’s droop isn’t a myth – too much booze over a long period can lead to problems getting and maintaining an erection,” Newlands says.

You’ll Quash Your Moody Spells

“While your first drink may make you feel better,” says Newlands, “booze is actually a depressant. Those dreaded hangover blues, or beer fear, are caused by a direct effect of alcohol on your brain chemistry.” Yep, while one drink is OK, pretty soon booze will betray you by interfering with neurotransmitters in your head and can even reduce your levels of happiness-boosting serotonin. Not cool.

If you want to get involved, register here:

Sober for October

BLACK RUSSIAN

Before we get into the background on the classic Black Russian recipe, here are a few related cocktail recipes you may like: the Butterscotch White Russian, the Caramel White Russian, the Chocolate White Russian, the Salted Caramel White Russian, the White Russian Split, and the Coconut Rum White Russian.

As far as the background on this covert-sounding cocktail, the White Russian/Black Russian cocktail wikipedia pagenotes that “The traditional cocktail known as a Black Russian, which first appeared in 1949, becomes a White Russian with the addition of cream.” And that “Neither drink is Russian in origin, but both are so named due to vodka being the primary ingredient. It is unclear which drink preceded the other.” So yeah, you may have thought that the White Russian was the OG Russian drink, but that’s apparently not the case. Although a 2016 VinePair articledoes state that ” The [White Russian] was conceived in 1949 when Gustave Tops, a Belgian barman, created the cocktail, along with its sister cocktail, the black Russian – a White Russian without any cream – at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in honor of Perle Mesta, then U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.” So maybe both were actually made at the same time?

Although the Black Russian has never garnered the popularity of a drink like the classic margarita or classic mimosa, the White Russian version really took off in popularity in 1998 after the movie The Big Lebowskicame out. In the film, the White Russian was the drink of choice for the main character, the Dude, and because he was so emulated, so too was his drink.

BLACK RUSSIAN
1 3/4 oz. (52ml) Vodka
3/4 oz. (22ml) Coffee Liqueur

PREPARATION
1. Our vodka and coffee liqueur over ice in serving glass.
2. Stir gently.
DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

Black Russian drink recipe: vodka and Kahlua over ice

This drink tastes enough like sweetened coffee that you can just assume any food that goes well with sweetened coffee will go well with a Black Russian.

HOT GINS

If you’re searching for the perfect gin to give as a present, Joel and Neil from World’s Best Spirits have rounded up their favourite craft, flavoured and indie gins that everyone will love.

Find out more about our BBC Good Food reviews.

Silent Pool

Blue Silent Pool gin bottle on white background

A gin that looks as great as it tastes – the aqua blue of the Silent Pool bottle is mesmerising. A delicious mix of chamomile, lavender and honey flavours, it’s made on the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills so it’s a real product of its location. Wrapping up a bottle of this will definitely earn you brownie points. 

Tappers Hydropathic Pudding

Red flavoured gin bottle on white background

Some gin drinkers prefer a flavoured variation, which adds a certain sweetness to the overall drink. This particular bottle is classed as a ‘fruit cup’. That’s a gin-based drink flavoured with herbs, spices and fruits – the gin version of Pimms, essentially. Made in small batches in West Kirby, it’s perfect when mixed with lemonade and should be served cool in the summer, or warm in the winter.

Curio Rock Samphire Gin 

Curio Rock blue coloured gin bottle on white background
Run by husband-and-wife team William and Rubina Tyler-Street on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, this is a craft gin that explores the terroir of the area. Rock samphire is used to give a fragrant balance of botanicals to the gin and brings a slight waft of coastal sea spray through into the taste. It’s refreshingly different and will make a great present for the adventurous gin drinker in your life. 

Beefeater London Dry

Beefeater bottle on white background

Nothing beats a classic and Beefeater is arguably the grandfather of gins. Crafted in central London, the distilling process still utilises copper pot stills to this day and, from the distillery’s home in Kennington, you can see directly into the Oval cricket ground. With juniper at its heart and balanced with botanicals, Beefeater is best when simply mixed with tonic and ice. It never goes wrong as a decent bottle to hand over on special occasions and is widely available in supermarkets if you need something last-minute. 

Ki No Bi

Kinobi black bottle on white background
Push the boat out! The first dedicated craft gin distillery in Japan, Ki No Bi creates a bold yet classically styled gin with luscious herbaceous juniper, but also distinctive notes of Japanese yuzu, hinoki and sansho pepper. Perhaps worth purchasing for someone tired of British gins (if that’s even possible). Kampai/cheers! 

No.3 London Dry Gin

No 3 London gin on white background

Produced by Berry Bros & Rudd (the oldest wine and spirits merchant in the UK, by the way) this gin takes some beating. Expect to find citrus, cardamom and lashings of all-important juniper. No.3 subscribes to the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality and is all the better for it. Outstanding, simple and a crowd-pleaser.

Star of Bombay London dry gin

Blue Bombay Sapphire bottle on white background

With its distinctive blue bottle, Star of Bombay is produced in the beautiful surroundings of the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill. Star Of Bombay is a punchy gin and is big on juniper, coriander and bergamot, bringing added intensity to your G&T. Do pay a visit to the distillery if you get the chance – its glasshouse is a thing of unadulterated beauty.

 

Death’s Door

Deaths Door gin bottle on white background
In a world where most craft gins seem to stuff tens of botanicals into their recipes, this wonderful brand from America stands out for its simplicity. Death’s Door uses just three botanicals: juniper, coriander and fennel. The result is an earthy gin sure to impress for its outstanding balance.
 

Drinks By The Dram gin tasting set

Gin tasting miniature bottles set
Why try one gin, when you can try a flight of them? Drinks By The Dram specialise in small sample and tasting packs with a variety of different gins. Perfect as a small gift and for someone still discovering which gins they prefer.

Buy from Amazon (£19.95)

Four Pillars, Rare Dry

Four pillars gin bottle on white background
An Aussie gin built on the four pillars of a copper still, water from the Yarra Valley, local botanicals and a whole lotta love! Beautifully balanced, full-bodied and full of Aussie personality. Bring a ray of sunshine from the southern hemisphere to chilly UK climates. 

Abelforth’s Bathtub Gin

Ableforth's gin on white background
One of the new wave of gins to hit shelves in the past few years, Bathtub Gin is ‘compounded’, by adding the botanicals into a neutral spirit and steeping them till the flavour develops. The result is a gin that is delicate yet balanced and perfect for the beginner. 

FEW barrel-aged gin

FEW aged barrel gin on white background
An aged gin? FEW is an independent outfit from Chicago where the distillers make their own spirit from scratch (a fairly rare occurrence). It is then re-distilled with juniper, lemon peel, cassia bark and angelica before being enhanced by resting it in an oak cask which adds a vanilla complexity and a golden colour.

Buy from Master of Malt (£46.60)

Gin Mare

Gin mare bottle on white background
The martini is having a moment once again. The question is: how do you like yours? If you enjoy it with an olive rather than citrus zest, then Gin Mare is the one for you. Rich and smooth, this Spanish gin has a distinct savoury backbone.
 

Hepple Gin

Heppel gin on white background
When it comes to flavour, chefs know more than most. Hepple is distilled in the north-east and is the brainchild of well-known chef and uber-forager, Valentine Warner – and it shows. This is a gin made with passion and flavour at the very heart of it and can be enjoyed simply over ice. 

Buy from Amazon (£35.95)

Martini Riserva Speciale Ambrato

Martini bottle on white background
Vermouth is to gin what McCartney was to Lennon – together, in a martini, they make a great pair. However as individuals, they’re also star performers. For anyone who is building a decent collection of different gins, try giving them a bottle of Martini’s latest. It’s spicy yet delicate, with blossoming elderflower notes.

 

Seedlip

Seedlip bottle on white background
For someone who is teetotal, or simply having a break from booze, then Seedlip is the perfect go-to drink. Seedlip Garden 108 is a gin-like alcohol-free distilled spirit that pairs brilliantly with tonic.

 

THE PERFECT PIMMS

Pimm’s has become as synonymous with British Summertime as picnics in the parkand barbecued burgers, but do you know how to make it properly?

For one glass you need… 

  • A highball glass
  • 50ml Pimm’s No 1
  • 150ml lemonade
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Chopped strawberries
  • Sliced orange
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Plenty of ice

1. The perfect Pimm’s method: 

It’s quite simple really, say mixologists at Pimm’s. Fill your glass with ice, pop in the mint and chopped fruit, pour in the Pimm’s, top with lemonade and stir.

To make up a pitcher use the same method, this time with a handful each of the chopped fruit, cucumber and mint leaves. Mix the quantity of cocktail you need, keeping the ratio to one part Pimm’s and three parts lemonade.

Pimm’s with a twist: 

We spoke to bartenders and mixologists around the UK to find out how they enjoy a glass of Pimm’s with a twist.

1. Serve with champagne 

Known as a ‘royal cup,’ or ‘Pimm’s Royale,’ adding Champagne instead of lemonade is exactly what Jane Peyton, founder of School of Booze would do. However she recommends serving this concotion in a smaller glass because the alcohol level is higher. 

2. Use different herbs

Don’t feel as though you have to stick to just mint, Matt Ottley, Head Bartender at the Salt Room in Brighton tells us. Instead he recommends trying different herbs and muddled spices for a new flavour experience. His favourite for Pimm’s are:

  • Basil, strawberry and black pepper
  • Sage, apricot and fennel
  • Rosemary, raspberry and pink peppercorns
  • Herbs like thyme and lemon balm 

    3. Add Appletiser

    Richard Wood, Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development at the Duck and Waffle, says Appletiser goes great with Pimm’s.

    ‘It’s a perfectly delicious alternative to lemonade,’ he said. ‘It’s best mixed in a large wine glass with a couple of halved strawberries, a sprig of mint and a slice or two of apple. Garnish with an apple fan for a true taste of Summer with a lovely aromatic lift.’