A twist on the Whiskey Sour brings back the past while staying on trend

While Cameron Bogue loves the creativity of creating cocktails, his “nerdy, analytic” side thrives on numbers. The corporate beverage director for Earls Kitchen & Bar knows the staff at the Dadeland Mall location (7535 N. Kendall Drive, Unit 2510) makes 20 liters of lime juice and 10 liters of lemon juice each Friday.

This addiction to numbers led Bogue to realize that he could multiply his productivity. In 2014, inspired by Earls chefs who brought in consultants, he invited Vancouver bartender Shaun Layton to brainstorm recipes with him. Bogue could come up with 10 to 15 ideas and turn out four to five recipes. Layton and he came up with more than 25 recipes in two days.

He continues to collaborate with well-known bartenders, including Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a cocktail blogger based in Portland, Oregon, known for his fun twists on classic drinks.

“Sometimes, drinks are just overthought,” Bogue says. “And when you have somebody to collaborate with, you can just be much more agile and come up with things on the spot.”

Together, they developed a Whiskey Sour (purposefully keeping its familiar name). While it keeps the basic elements of spirit, acid and sweetener—in this case, Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon juice and syrup—the twist is French orange marmalade made from bitter peels.

“That bitter orange goes extremely well with Buffalo Trace products,” Bogue says. “We tried multiple bourbons in this drink, and that was the one that worked best.”

Bogue says the drink is a popular choice at Earls, perhaps a sign that bourbon is shedding its old-fashioned image. Bogue attributes its steady resurgence with the comeback of Americana and its sweetness.

“I don’t know if it’s the ‘Mad Men’ phenomenon or if people are gravitating toward brown spirits because bartenders like them,” Bogue says. “Bourbon, dark spirits, rye and overproof spirits 10, 12 years ago were sought after by bartenders. Today, it’s mainstream.”

Whatever the reasons, Bogue simply wants patrons to be “surprised and impressed that they like it more than a regular whiskey sour.”

Earls Whiskey Sour

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon

3/4 ounce egg whites

3/4 ounce simple syrup

3/4 ounce lemon juice

1 teaspoon bitter orange marmalade

Directions

Combine ingredients into mixing glass. Pack mixing glass full with ice, then top with a stainless-steel shaking tin. Shake vigorously 20 times. Strain with Hawthorne strainer over fresh ice into a double rocks glass. Garnish with a thyme sprig and lemon zest.