The Golden Groundhog

Feb 23rd

Here in Los Angeles, we’re in the dead of winter.  Actually, not really – it’s LA, there’s no dead of winter, or (real) winter for that matter.  However, the groundhog did come out a couple weeks ago and announce that we had six more weeks of winter, which got me thinking about Spring and wanting a refreshing cocktail to remind me of the warmer months soon to come.

I was inspired to craft this cocktail after having a Meyer lemon soda at Baco Mercat, a new restaurant in downtown LA, that makes their own sodas.  I was hosting a board game night at my house and wanted to make an easy cocktail for the masses and thought (being a whiskey lover) that maybe the Meyer lemon soda and bourbon would go well together.  It also just so happens that Meyer lemons are in an abundance in the winter, when they’re primarily harvested, so it seemed like it was meant to be.  Hence, the Golden Groundhog was born (clever name, eh, get it, get it?)!

Golden Groundhog Ingredients

  • 3 ounces of bourbon whiskey ( I know this sounds like a lot, but I like a stiff drink and it’s served in a tall glass, but take it down notch if you need to)
  • 1 ounce of Meyer lemon syrup (recipe below)
  • club soda (for the masses I used Schweppes, but when making a one off, I went fancy and used Fever Tree)
  • mint leaves
  • lemon slices for garnish
  • Collins glass (or some sort of tall glass)
  • muddler

Muddle three to four mint leaves at the bottom of the glass along with the Meyer lemon syrup.  Add the bourbon and an ample amount of ice, top with club soda and give it a good stir until the soda starts to fizz.  Garnish with a lemon wheel and a mint sprig, serve, and wait for your guests to profusely compliment you.

Please note, depending on your palate and alcohol tolerance, you can adjust the amount of whiskey and syrup you use.  If you prefer a sweeter drink, I’d suggest reducing the whiskey to two ounces and keeping the syrup at one ounce.  If three ounces of whiskey is too much for you (or you intend to drink more than two of these bad boys), but you don’t want a sweeter drink, take the whiskey down to two ounces and the syrup down to a scant three quarters ounce.  And, as I suggest with all cocktails, taste it before serving to ensure that you like it, and if not, adjust the ratios of ingredients accordingly.

Meyer Lemon Syrup Recipe

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • one capful of vodka (for preservative)

Bring the water to boil on the stove and add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Off heat, add the lemon juice and vodka and stir.  Let cool before placing in a jar, which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month and used for other cocktails or a Meyer lemon soda, which is the above recipe, minus the bourbon.