This is a boldly flavored cocktail created by my chef, Michael Pardus, who teaches the cuisines of Asia at the Culinary Institute of America. Flavors galore—Meyer lemon, vanilla, ginger, American whiskey.
I especially admire the clever use of ginger from a chef who uses it all day long in class (he taught me to peel ginger with a spoon—works great; he sometimes adds fine julienne to the glass to chew on as he sips). All the elements swirl beautifully together (regular lemon juice will work too if you can't find Meyers). For a light summer cocktail, he tops it off with a couple ounces of seltzer (and maybe an extra splash of whiskey if you're Chef Pardus). The vanilla, delivered via a simple syrup, and ginger mix beautifully with the whiskey.
I chose Dickel Tennessee sour mash, my boon pal Blake Bailey's choice of American whiskey to have on hand (Pardus goes with bourbon, and I wouldn't say no to rye). The flavor combo is so delicious I prefer it over ice, sans seltzer. Regardless, sparkling or on the rocks, it's a fabulous cocktail.
Why the name Fig? You'll have to ask Chef Pardus. In the meantime, enjoy this fine elixir.
Meyer Lemon Fig
- 4 ounces American whiskey
- 2 tablespoons vanilla simple syrup (see below)
- 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- Seltzer water and ice as needed or desired
- Put whiskey, vanilla syrup, lemon juice, and ginger in a shaker with ice; shake well.
- Fill a tall glass with ice, add shaker contents. Add seltzer to fill, and stir.
- (Alternatively to steps 1 and 2: Divide ingredients equally between two lowballs, stir, and add ice.)
- Rim edge of glass with a piece of cut fresh ginger.
Makes 2 tall sparkly drinks or 2 lowballs.
Vanilla Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons GOOD vanilla extract
- Combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil or heat in a microwave to dissolve sugar, and let cool slightly.
- Stir in vanilla extract, place in a plastic container, and refrigerate until ready to use. This is also great in coffee or cappuccino.
If you liked this post, take a look at these links:
- My past cocktail posts with bourbon are the Boulevardier, Old Fashioned, and Mint Julep.
- What makes a bourbon bourbon?
- Headed south toward Kentucky and need something fun to do? Check out the Bourbon Trail.
- Emilia is not really into bourbon, but a friend introduced her to Angel's Envy and she likes it.
© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.