It’s no secret that I love a good cocktail, especially those made with bourbon. Bourbon was my Nana’s favorite booze, and it is mine as well so I always think of her when I sip it. This cocktail in particular is one of my absolute favorites; it’s a Smoky Lemon Rosemary Whiskey Sour (AKA The Flannel Shirt). Made with good quality bourbon, rosemary simple syrup, a squeeze of Meyer lemon and a few drops of peaty Laphroaig, it’s the perfect cocktail to bring a little brightness into dark winter days.
Updated images and recipe card 7/21/21.Jump to Recipe
Good bourbon is rich and heady with caramel, vanilla and butterscotch notes, fruity notes of pear, apple or fig, and spicy notes of black pepper, nutmeg or tobacco. Because of this, it makes a great winter cocktail, especially when paired with my favorite Meyer lemons.
IS BOURBON GLUTEN FREE?
Bourbon and whiskey is often made with wheat, barley, or rye, which is usually a big red flag for us with celiac disease. I get asked a lot if whisky made with glutenous grains is, in fact, gluten free. Most of the time, the answer is yes, because the distillation process removes the gluten protein. According to the National Celiac Association, pure, distilled alcoholic beverages are safe for people with celiac disease to drink with the exception of beer made with glutenous grains. That said, take precaution with any liquor that has flavorings or other additives.
In the US, any product that is made with a glutenous grain (such as many bourbons) cannot legally be labeled “gluten-free” even if there is no traceable gluten in the product, but alcohols that are made from corn or potatoes, such as certain vodka brands, can carry that label.
There are some folks with gluten-intolerance that do have a reaction to bourbon and whiskey. And if that’s you, obviously do not partake!
HOW TO MAKE A SMOKY WHISKEY SOUR
It’s important to start with a great tasting bourbon, but because this is a mixed drink, it doesn’t need to be the most expensive bourbon money can buy. For this cocktail, I’d recommend Four Roses, Bulleit Straight Bourbon, or Knob Creek. The “smoky” flavor of this cocktail comes from the super peaty Laphroaig, and let me tell you, a little dab will do you. Laphroaig tastes like campfire and ash, with notes of Band-Aid. Yum? On its own, many would consider it an acquired taste (I personally dig it), but when you add a few drops to this cocktail, it imbues it with a cozy warmth that’s just like your favorite flannel shirt.
The other ingredients are fresh rosemary simple syrup, which is essentially a sprig of fresh rosemary tossed into a pot with sugar and water that is brought to a simmer, just until the sugar dissolves. You let this mixture cool to room temp, then refrigerate it for a few hours to let the rosemary make its mark.
The final ingredient is fresh Meyer lemon juice, if it’s in season and you can find it. Otherwise, regular fresh lemon juice works well too!
WHAT ARE MEYER LEMONS?
I’m glad you asked. Meyer lemons are a relatively new addition in the US as they were brought here from China in the early 20th century by a man named…Frank Meyer. Rumor has it that Meyer lemons are a cross between regular lemons and mandarin orange.
Smoother and smaller in appearance than a regular lemon, they have a bright yellow/orange flesh and mildly sour taste (or mildly sweet if you’re a glass half full kind of person). I love them because they have the most amazing fragrance with hints of spice, along with herbal and floral notes. They are perfect in cocktails, cakes, curds, and even delicious tossed raw into salads. They are in season mid-November through January, though I can still find them in our Southern California markets right now.
This Smoky Lemon Rosemary Whiskey Sour cocktail hits all the right notes; it’s flavorful and bright, with a hint of sultry from the double hit of rosemary and Laphroaig. We enjoy them all winter long.
LOOKING FOR MORE COCKTAIL RECIPES? TRY THESE:
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!
Smoky Whiskey Sour with Meyer Lemon and Rosemary
- Cocktail Shaker
For the Simple Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
For the Cocktail
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice Meyer lemon if you can find it
- 1 ounce rosemary simple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Laphroaig 10 or to taste
- Prepare the simple syrup by putting the sugar, water and rosemary together in a small sauce pan. Heat the mixture over medium and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool. The longer you leave the rosemary in the syrup, the stronger the flavor will be. I typically leave it in the syrup for a few hours.
- Make the cocktails. Fill two tumblers or rocks glasses with crushed ice. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and Laphroaig 10 to the cocktail shaker. Stir well until everything is combined and cold. Strain into the tumblers. Add a slice of lemon and a sprig of rosemary to garnish.