Over the weekend I attended a party where Tim Laird, Brown-Forman’s “CEO” (Chief Entertaining Officer), was slinging the drinks, and I experienced one of the most eye-opening (palate-awakening?) moments of my bourbon-drinking life: I had bourbon and red wine. In a cocktail. Together.
Now, I’ve written several times here about cocktails that combine bourbon and champagne. But mixing bourbon and red wine had never occurred to me. It occurred to Tim when a steakhouse asked him to create a cocktail that could hold its own with the bold flavor of a sizzling steak. Bourbon came immediately to mind, then red wine. Why not combine them?
The result was the Woodford Ruby, which Tim is pouring into a glass from a shaker above. (By the way, he also dispelled the notion that shaken is better than stirred, or vice versa. As long as the ingredients get nicely chilled and slightly diluted, which opens up the flavor, either method is fine.)
The Ruby was a revelation — big, bold flavor, with the wine taking the edge off the bourbon and giving it that nice velvety mouthfeel. Simple syrup added a touch of sweetness, but fresh lemon juice kept it from being too sweet. It was quite refreshing on a warm, breezy evening.
Here is the recipe from Tim Laird’s 2010 book, “That’s Entertaining!”
In a shaker with ice, add:
3 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
6 ounces red wine, such as pinot noir or merlot
2 ounces simple syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain into chilled martini glasses. Garnish with lemon twists.
Serves two. Cheers!