I am always honored when I get to do really cool things in Kalamazoo. This past Saturday was WMU's first home football game. I had the wonderful opportunity to create and serve a signature cocktail in the Southwest Michigan First football suite. I dedicated this elixir to my great grand aunt, Josephine Wing Jackson, who was President Waldo's Administrative Assistant. She suggested the school colors to President Waldo after gazing out the window and seeing all the wild Brown Eyed Susan's growing on the hill near Heritage Hall. Her story is proudly told on the entrance wall of Heritage Hall.
I put an elixir spin on the classic Black Eyed Susan cocktail (the Preakness Horse Race signature drink) and name it the Brown Eyed Susan in her honor. It's the Elixir thing to do.
Brown Eyed Susan Elixir Recipe
1 oz. Grand Traverse Distillery Rye Vodka
1 oz. Grand Traverse Distillery Small Batch Bourbon
1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz. peach nectar (Looza Brand)
1 oz. Ginger Honey Lemon Sour Mix
3 dashes Black Walnut Bourbon Cherry Bitters
Splash of Seltzer Water
1 fresh peach slice
Vietnamese Saigon Cinnamon
Combine spirits, sour mix, juices and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice to Boston Shaker. Shake for ten seconds then strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Top with a splash of Seltzer and gently stir. Add a fresh peach slice and a dusting of Vietnamese Saigon Cinnamon.
1 cup fresh peeled ginger root, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup locally sourced honey
Heat water over medium heat. Add ginger and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Slowly stir in the honey until completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool then refrigerate overnight. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a mason jar or bottle with a tight lid. Keep refrigerated. Syrup will be good for up to two weeks.
Sour Mix - Combine 4 ounces of Ginger Honey Syrup with 4 ounces fresh pressed lemon juice. Makes 8 ounces.
Black Walnut Cherry Bourbon Bitters: I make my own signature bitters but you will find Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and Cherry Bitters will do the trick. Add 2 dashes of each for the Brown Eyed Susan Elixir.
Grand Traverse Distillery - The oldest and largest distillery in Michigan uses only the best locally grown corn, wheat and rye sourced from their friends and neighbors, the Send Brothers Farm in Williamsburg. Located just 11 miles from the production facility, the farm keeps Grand Traverse Distillery's grain bins full and deliver right to their door. A true "grain to bottle" micro-distillery operating since 2007.
Grand Traverse Rye Vodka is a Polish styled vodka with hints at notes of bread dough and pepper.
Grand Traverse Small Batch Bourbon is a traditional styled rye bourbon with tastes of spice, oak and caramel.
Peaches were grown and harvested at Big Dan's U-Pick 'Em (Hartford, MI) and the Vietnamese Saigon Cinnamon was sourced from Great Lakes Tea and Spice (Glen Arbor, MI)