Woodford County Cooler

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by Raul Faria

Check out my original cocktail the “Woodford County Cooler” featuring Woodford Reserve. This cocktail was served at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for AFAN’s the Black and White Party. AFAN “provides support and advocacy for adults and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Southern Nevada”. It’s a great cause and the Black and White Party is a huge event with live entertainment from some of Las Vegas biggest shows.The event also featured sponsors like Ketel 1, Sauza 901, Absolut and one of my personal favorites, Woodford Reserve. The Woodford County Cooler is designed to amplify the vanilla and rye spice notes I find in the whiskey with the homemade vanilla bean grenadine and the ginger beer. Peaches and whiskey are best friends of course so I know I also wanted to use some stone fruit and that’s where the white peach puree comes in. This is a fun summertime whiskey sipper that is really easy to make with a little preparation. Lets make one!

1) Lets get our tools together; we will need our Boston Shaker, Hawthorne strainer, our Citrus Press, A jigger with a 1 oz and .75 oz measure and a 16oz Collins glass. To make our grenadine and prepare our garnish we will also need a saucepan, measuring cup and a sharp pairing knife. Our shopping list will consist of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Fever Tree ginger beer, Fee Bros Peach Bitters, lemons, peaches, POM wonderful pomegranate juice and vanilla beans. Optional tool will be a Double-Strainer.

2) We have some prep to done first-

Vanilla Bean Grenadine– Begin by slicing a vanilla bean in half and then slicing it through the middle opening one side. Next empty 1.5 cups of sugar onto a baking pan or plate. Now take the split vanilla bean half and grind it into the sugar. let this sit for at least 4-6 hours minimum. We will now add vanilla infused sugar and the vanilla bean into our saucepan. Let’s get our 1.5 cups of POM wonderful into our saucepan and place the heat on high. Stir until sugar is blended in, bring mixture  to a boil, next lower heat to a low simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Allow to cool then pour into vessel for later use. (This recipe can also be made without the sugar infusion but will yield less vanilla flavor)

Diced Peach Garnish– Slice off the four sides of a white peach leaving the core and the stem. Take the four sides and dice them into small evenly (as much as you can) chunks. Peaches once they are cut pretty much need to be served right away however if you want to keep them fresh throughout a party or shift at the bar add a couple splashes of lemon juice and some water to the the peaches while they are in their garnish caddy or other holding vessel.

3) Lets begin by adding .75 oz of vanilla bean grenadine to our mixing glass portion of our Boston Shaker.

4) Next we will add our .75 oz of lemon juice. You can simply slice the lemon in half and using our citrus press squeeze the lemon juice right into our jigger. Or you can utilize the double-strainer to filter out the pulp and seeds and squeeze the juice into a seperate container for later use.

5) Now let’s add our 1.5 oz white peach puree. Ponthier, Boiron and Perfect Puree are all solid choices. If you can’t find those you can also use Funkin but it does tend to be sweeter and more “applesaucy”. You can also make your own peach puree using a blender and adding just a touch of simple syrup.

6) Time to add the main event, 2 oz of Woodford Reserve Bourbon. The name Woodford County Cooler is in obvious reference to the whiskey itself  but also to the county in which the distillery is located and where the whiskey gets it’s name. Woodford Reserve is distilled in the oldest operating distillery in the United States. Since 1878 the former Elijah Pepper distillery has been making whiskey, with a brief vacation for that pesky prohibition back in the twenties. They were apparently making whiskey at that site all the way back to the late 1700’s but in a less formal capacity. The now named Woodford Reserve Distillery is a registered National Historic Landmark.

7) Lets add 3 dashes of Fee Bros Peach Bitters and ice then shake. Strain into a chilled, iced 16 oz Collins glass.

8) Top off with ginger beer and give a quick light stir to distribute ingredients or pour your ginger beer while at the same time straining your cocktail. Garnish with a teaspoon of diced peaches and a lemon wheel. Enjoy 🙂

Woodford County Cooler– 2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon, .75 oz Vanilla Bean Grenadine, .75 oz fresh lemon juice, 1.5 oz of white peach puree, 3 dashes of Fee Bros Peach Bitters, add ice then shake and strain into chilled, iced Collins glass., top off with 3 oz of ginger beer, give a quick light stir to distribute and garnish with diced peaches and a lemon wheel.

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