If you read last week's post, then you already know the ingredients for this month's Thirsty Thursdays Challenge ... Bourbon and Cucumbers. The good news is that I'm not requiring you to pair them together!
Since we have two ingredients, you are free to choose either bourbon or cucumbers. If you're really daring and want to take a risk - go ahead and pair them. Who knows, maybe you'll create a new mixological sensation and become wildly famous. Maybe bourbon and cukes are a match made in heaven ... only time will tell.
So, a brief little primer on bourbon before we get to the rules.
Bourbon is an American whiskey distilled from fermented mash that's primarily (51% or higher) made of corn. Like most whiskeys, its aged in charred barrels to achieve its distinct brown color and to add to its flavor. In fact, in order to be classified as bourbon, the distilled spirit must be aged for a minimum of two years in new oak barrels that have been charred specifically for aging. Bourbon cannot be aged in used barrels; however, once the barrel has been used, it may be re-used to age scotch and or other spirits.
While bourbon can be made anywhere, the majority of American bourbon is made in the state of Kentucky. Popular brands include: Wild Turkey, Maker's Mark, Four Roses and Jim Beam, to name but a few.
Flavor descriptives often associated with bourbon are: sweet, smokey, vanilla, caramel, toffee, leather, molasses, maple, oak, brown sugar, apricot and almond. That list can go on and on, depending on the sensitivity of one's palate and the particular brand, of course.
Bourbon pairs well with: orange, lemon, vermouth, bitters, mint, peaches, butterscotch, grapefruit, ginger, grenadine, apricot, cherries, rosemary, honey, bacon, pineapple and maple.
And, so as not to leave our friend the cucumber out, let's take a moment to talk about pairing him up as well. In terms of spirits, I'd mix cucumber with almost anything clear ... vodka, gin, sake or shocou, etc., though you're by no means limited to that short list. Use your imagination!
Cucumber pairs well with: mint, cilantro, citrus, tomatoes, dill, parsley, chile peppers, pineapple, yogurt, lemons, limes and thyme, to name but a few.
So what are you waiting for ... get out your shakers and get mixing. The rules of the May Challenge are as follows:
1. Create a cocktail using either bourbon as the base or cucumber as an ingredient and write a blog entry about it. Post your entry sometime before midnight on Monday, May 31st. Previous blog posts in which you've used either bourbon or cucumbers in a cocktail recipe will be accepted.
2. Blog about your Thirsty Thursday Challenge Cocktail, including photos, and include a link back to Beach Eats: http://beacheats.blogspot.com
3. Send an email entitled "Thirsty Thursdays May Challenge" to: ttchallenge[at]gmail[dot]com
The email must include the following information:
- Your name
- The name of your blog
- The name of your cocktail
- The link to your blog entry and a photograph of your drink
- Entries must be received by midnight on Monday, May 31st
You can still participate even if you don't have a blog. Simply send an email with the above information, minus the blog stuff, and I'll include you in the round-up
The round-up will be posted on Thursday, June 3rd and a winner will be declared at that time. Said winner will have the privilege of choosing next month's spirit or ingredient. Good luck!
Special thanks to Tangled Noodle for choosing the cucumbers and to Suzy for choosing the bourbon. I can't wait to get mixing ... look for a new cocktail recipe next week!