50 Shots of America–Louisiana


Yes, I know, I’m skipping over 4 states in the whole date-of-statehood-order but I have a really good reason:

First, today is my birthday and if you can’t bend (your own) rules on your birthday, what’s the point?

Second, it’s also Louisiana‘s anniversary of statehood. So happy birthday to both of us!

And, in case you missed the memo, I spent the first 6 years of my life in and around Ponchatoula, LA, before I was rudely dragged to Florida to live out what seems to be the rest of my days. Seriously, all I remember about that trip was laying down in the back seat, as furious as a 6-year-old can be, absolutely insulted that we were moving so far away from all of our family.

Louisiana and me? We go way back. So that’s why I’m bending the rules. I promise I will go back and give the 4 states we just leap-frogged their Friday in the sun and delicious cocktails.

My grandfather on my father’s side was an honest-to-goodness hobo during the war. Long after that he built my grandmother her dream home and it’s the home I remember most from my childhood since we lived there, too, for a while. I’m still a little irked that my uncle sold it out of the family more than a decade ago. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a farmer and grew prize-winning strawberries and assorted veggies. It’s his strawberries I remember best, which he made into strawberry freezer jam and made his own strawberry wine, and the annual Strawberry Festival held every April (and still going strong) in our little town.

And, oh, the daiquiris! Obviously I do not remember these so much from my childhood, at least not directly! Not the classic lime daiquiris,but thick, frosty frozen daiquiris absolutely chock-a-block with strawberries. Oh, so good.

Chocolate Covered Daiquiri

1 medium strawberry, hulled and quartered
1 tsp superfine sugar
3/4 oz light rum
1/2 oz strawberry schnapps
1/2 oz chocolate liqueur

Muddle the strawberry, sugar and rum in a sturdy mixing glass until the berries are thoroughly mashed. Add the schnapps and liqueur and top with plenty of ice. Shake it like a last booze run before the storm comes in and strain it into a chilled cordial glass.

This is not too sweet, not too chocolatey, it’s just enough. And if you have trouble tracking down superfine sugar just buzz some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or spice grinder for a bit.

The Amaretto Sour


When I was 18 I went to visit my Louisiana relations for Thanksgiving and, one night, some of us went out to a bar (named Robert E Lee’s, I kid you not). Now, this was back when Louisiana’s roads were worse than they are now and before they caved (for the umpteenth and final time, it would seem) to the Federal desires of setting the legal drinking age to 21. Hence, I was legal to drink there.

Now at this bar I was faced with a conundrum: what to order. My aunt (who, by the way, is 5 months younger than me–grandpa had 3 batches of kids, total) suggested that I order an Amaretto Sour, as it was fairly mild and what she would order those nights that she was driving. *head tilt*

But I did order it and since it wasn’t repulsive and didn’t make me sick, it would become my default drink for a while. Not that I drank when I got back home, Florida’s drinking age _was_ 21 and I was [am] a rules-follower. Nonetheless, it was an easy fall-back when I as trying to be grown up and not a cocktail rube.

Since Sips & Shots will be, for the time being at least, taking an alphabetical stroll through my personal bar catalog, starting with the Amaretto Sour seemed like a logical choice.

It’s a simple drink, really, so I was surprised to see so many variations in ratio and add-ons. The biggest debate, however, is whether to use a commercial Sour Mix or straight lemon juice. And if you use lemon juice do you sweeten it a bit, yourself? Do you use sugar, simple syrup or go for the exotic and try something like agave nectar? Well, question not, at least to our mind, we’ve determined that our ideal Amaretto Sour uses lemon juice over mix with just a touch of simple syrup to take the edge off without removing all of the tartness… after all, it is called a SOUR for a reason, right?

CHF* Amaretto Sour

2 oz Amaretto
1 oz Lemon Juice
Splash of 1:1 Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass over ice (always serve the drink with fresh ice for the best drinking experience, the shaken ice is agitated, broken and will melt faster, watering down your drink). 

Traditionally, the garnish for an Amaretto Sour is an orange slice an a maraschino cherry (together called a flag) however Janelle from Talk of Tomatoes‘ idea of using frozen blueberries is rather inspired. If I’d had any in the house I think I would have even muddled them but that would be a different drink altogether… Dibs!

An honorable mention among the 7 varieties of Sours we tried before taking the best parts of each for our own (yes, I really mixed 7 drinks… what I do for y’all!) comes from DrinkStreet: top with lemon-lime soda. This makes sort of a spritzerish amaretto sour-patch-punch thing but it’d be great for a party: not only would it be different and not get your guests drunk (depending on how much soda you add), it could really stretch your beverage budget.

Come back next Friday for fun with Butter Schnapps!

*CHF = Cocktail Hour Favorite, our designation of a trusted and tried beverage concocted by the authors. There may be only so many ingredients in a drink, but there are hundreds of ways to mix them!