Mint Juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby…
Strawberry lemonade is always a good choice on a hot summer afternoon, and it is even better with a bit of whiskey added to the mix. This Kentucky Strawberry Lemonade is a bourbon-spiked twist on that summertime classic. While many strawberry lemonades are flavored with a strawberry puree, this cocktail is made with a strawberry syrup. The syrup is infused with fresh strawberries, so it has an intense strawberry flavor, but all the berries are strained out, resulting in a clear syrup that won’t cloud a drink. The syrup recipe will make plenty for several cocktails, or it can be used to make regular strawberry lemonades for any non-drinkers at your party. The syrup will keep for about a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Once you have the syrup on hand, the cocktail is easy to make and fantastic for summer entertaining. Mix up a big batch of the base and store it in the pitcher for easy serving, or just shake them up one by one as needed. I used Four Roses Bourbon in this cocktail, but other bourbons will also give you good results. Opt for a rye instead of a bourbon for a spicier finish.
1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz. Strawberry Syrup*
Fill a mixing glass with ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist and a fresh strawberry.
Strawberry Syrup: Combine 1 cup fresh, hulled strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and stir until sugar dissolves and strawberries are tender. Remove from heat and allow berries to sit for 10 minutes. Strain liquid to remove strawberries and allow mixture to cool.