Afternoon on a Porch

Certain foods can transport you to a time or place.  The same is true for cocktails.  Bourbon, rhubarb, and herbs all evoke the American South and together form an Afternoon on a Porch, a delicious cocktail which will ease away the stresses of a hurried lifestyle.


1 ounce bourbon

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup (1:1)

1 dash rhubarb bitters

4 fresh basil leaves

Ginger beer

Add bourbon, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, bitters, and 3 of the basil leaves to a shaker.  Shake with ice.  Double strain into a low ball glass over ice.  Top with a splash of ginger beer and garnish with a single basil leaf.

AfternoonOnAPorch-IngredientsI always add to my posts a handful of notes to head off any questions I expect and to make the cocktail as approachable as possible.  Here there are not many at all.  Most of the ingredients are easy to get.  The rhubarb bitters I used are made by Fee Brothers.  I am not quite sure if anyone else makes rhubarb bitters, but if so then feel free to sub those in as I am sure you will still end up with a great cocktail.  Some of you may think I left off instructions to muddle the basil.  Not so!  Muddling herbs is common but it really releases the flavors.  And while I love basil, I did not want basil to be the primary note in the cocktail.  So I drop the basil leaves whole into my shaker.  The ice will shred the basil as I shake and release the aroma and flavor.  This will ensure that the basil flavor lingers in the background.  In fact, without the basil garnish, drinkers are often left pondering what that additional flavor is!  The only thing to keep in mind is that you will need to double strain the cocktail when pouring to make sure that no tiny bits of basil end up floating around in the glass.

AfternoonOnAPorch-BasilAn Afternoon on a Porch walks that easily blurred line between easy to drink and complex.  I can easily waste away a lazy afternoon drinking only this one cocktail, but each time I take a sip I remark at the complex layers of flavors.  The nose of the cocktail is hard-hitting because of the ginger beer.  But upon taking a sip you experience the sweetness of the bourbon and simple syrup.  But then you notice something going on in the background.  It’s a mix of the bitterness of the grapefruit juice and the rhubarb bitters.  And lastly, the basil comes through, as one last surprise for the palate.  If you are longing to mentally sneak away to a serene setting then pour yourself one of these.  And if you are already in a serene setting . . . then I am jealous!  But an Afternoon on a Porch will only make your day better than it already is!

9 thoughts

  1. Yup. This is an original of mine. I did not think it would work well either but decided to give it a shot and it’s been a huge hit amongst my friends. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

    I’ll have to check out the chambord cocktail! Do you find that chambord is worth keeping in the liqueur cabinet?

    • I would yes, actually. I’ve been meaning to post about the stuff.

      I would liken the Chambord vodka as a “sweet gin”, if you would consider normal gin to be “savory gin”. It’s vodka that’s assuredly flavored with raspberries (as its Chambord branding would suggest), but it also has some complex flavors in there as well, like vanilla, perhaps a bit of chamomile, and some flavors that remind me of marshmallows and/or cotton candy. It’s really interesting stuff, and the price isn’t bad either.

  2. I made the drink!

    Really great, I have to say. You’re absolutely right, these flavors that shouldn’t go together definitely combine into something that I wouldn’t have been able to expect.

    It’s spicy, sweet, and floral all at the same time. The (perfectly restrained amount of) basil perfumes the mixture just the right amount… enough to where this isn’t really a basil drink.

    My only criticism is that the bourbon wasn’t quite strong enough for me in terms of flavor and proof… I expect using an overproof/barrel proof bourbon would fix this and maybe even make the drink better! Then again, I used a fairly light bourbon this time around, because it’s all I had.

    If you made this drink a light aperitif to begin a Thai meal, it’d be absolutely stellar.

    Well done!

    • Glad you liked it! Great idea with the overproof/barrel proof bourbon. I will need to give that a shot! I think I have some Booker’s somewhere so might use that. And I agree that this would be great as an aperitif to a spicy meal, like Thai food.

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