A blue highball, even if it is Lavender Orange? Is she insane? No, I just love colorful cocktails, even whiskey ones, and blue curacao in tiny amounts imparts a vibrant color. For a true whiskey lover a colored cocktail is a bit of heresy, but I’m not just creating cocktails for existing whiskey lovers, I want to draw in some of those people who think they aren’t whiskey drinkers.
(If you’re just joining me for Quarantine Highball week, I’ve got a great one from yesterday – a Highball Whiskey Spritz with a strong Campari element in it along with a great whiskey presence.)
Of all the highballs this week, I love this flavor combination best. I’m used to pairing lavender with lemon, but in this case, I had an orange sparkling water that really pulled out the citrus flavor from the whiskey and made it shine. If you’d rather a more traditional color to your highball, simply use Cointreau or an uncolored orange liqueur. But the floral nature of the lavender with the sweet citrus of orange is a classic flavor that I think I might have to repeat in some rum and gin-based cocktails.
One of the things that works for me in this cocktail is the way the floral notes from the lavender meld with the orange of the San Pellegrino and keep everything balanced. As I mentioned yesterday, if you’re a true whiskey drinker and need a bigger hit of whiskey taste in your cocktail, make sure to use 2 ounces instead of 1.5 and take the time to choose a higher proof whiskey that will stand out.
For something like a highball, if you want to test out the flavor combination of a whiskey before you commit to that pour, you can put just a spoon of the spirits in a glass with a splash of soda and your selected whiskey and you’ll be able to taste your way to the best option. If your whiskey disappears in the cocktail or overpowers the other elements you’ll know which way to go with selecting a base spirit for the highball
If you don’t want to waste any spirits, you can use the sniff test to see which works best. If you’ve been following my recipes you’ll know that’s how I select which whiskey should pair in a cocktail. To do this, you can build your cocktail in a glass without the base spirit and then nose the cocktail mix and whiskey together. I usually end up carrying around a bottle of whiskey and the cocktail mixing glass to nose the possible contenders.
The other option is always to line up your whiskey contenders and do a flight of whiskey to select a winner keeping in mind the flavors you’re wanting to focus on while sipping the cocktail. And you can never go wrong sipping whiskey before you use it in a cocktail.
For me, this lavender orange highball worked well with Old Forester 100, but also found it really worked with a Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit single barrel pick and an Early Times Bottled in Bond selection.
(For those of you curious about the other recipes in the Quarantine Series, I’ll put them here before you skim past to get to the recipe. Quarantine Donut cocktails ( Maple Caramel Long John, Pecan Sticky Bun cocktail and Blueberry Cake Donut, Boston Cream Cocktail and Apple Fritter Cocktail). Quarantine Juleps, (Breakfast Julep, the Pineapple Sage Rum Julep, Elvis Julep (peanut butter-banana), Root Beer Float Julep, and the Persian Julep (rose-apricot) ), Quarantine Old Fashioneds (Breakfast Wakey Wakey, Smoke and Spice, Home School, Taco Truck, and Campari/Bitter Lessons ), Quarantine Manhattans (Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan), Coffee Manhattan, Chocolate Ginger Manhattan, French Quarter Manhattan, and the Caramel Orange Manhattan.), Quarantine Whiskey Sours (Blackberry Sunset, Whiskey Tiki, Blue Mood Orange, Ya Basic, and Peach Rosemary), and Quarantine Smashes (Whiskey Smash, Blackberry Sage Smash, Pineapple Tiki Smash, Strawberry Basil Smash and the Coffee Cherry Smash.)
That’s No Moon – Lavender Orange Highball
- 1.5 oz bourbon (2 oz if you like more of a whiskey kick)
- ½ oz lavender simple syrup**
- ¼ oz blue curacao (or other non-colored orange liqueur if you prefer a less-colorful highball)
- 4-6 oz San Pellegrino Aranciato orange sparkling water
- Garnish: orange rose and lavender sprig
- In an ice-filled highball glass, add bourbon, simple syrup, blue curacao or other orange liqueur and stir briefly. Top with the orange sparkling water and stir one additional time. Garnish with an orange rose and a sprig of lavender on top.