Bufala Negra

The Southern Issue of my cocktail making bible, chock full of great places to eat & drink in the South, has me longing for a trip home to my old stomping grounds.

But it's Friday, I don't have an airline ticket in hand and we need a happy hour starter. This one will fit the bill - and not simply because a fellow Southerner created it.

I like it because it features not one, not two, but three key elements to a great cocktail.

1. Make your own simple syrups and get creative - think maple syrup, ginger, jalapeno, lemongrass.

2. Mind your garnish - fresh herbs kick it up in a way citrus cannot - think thyme, rosemary, cilantro, mint.

3. Make it sparkle - this makes a stiff drink smoother - think Prosecco, sparkling grapefruit or lemonade.

I would serve this with pulled pork sliders and some homemade pickles.

Cheers Y'all!

Bufala Negra

Bourbon and fresh basil meet the tart and tangy combo of balsamic syrup and ginger beer in this refreshing cooler from H. Harper Station barman, Jerry Slater.

1 1/2 oz. bourbon
4 fresh basil leaves
1 brown sugar cube
1/2 oz. balsamic syrup (see below)
2 oz. ginger beer
Ice cubes
Tools: muddler, shaker, strainer
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: fresh basil leaf

Muddle the balsamic syrup, basil and sugar cube in a mixing tin. Add bourbon and ice and shake hard. Strain over fresh ice cubes into an Old Fashioned. Top with ginger beer and garnish with basil leaf.

Balsamic Syrup

Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup simple syrup (1:1) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for one minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool completely.