It seemed like exactly the wrong thing to order on a freezing winter night: A tall, bubbly quencher called the Patio Banger, a cocktail clearly meant for a blazing summer day. But one sip banished such thoughts: Peppery with ginger and elusive spices, and just hefty enough to ward off the chill, thanks to a good splash of bourbon, the Patio Banger is the ideal between-seasons drink.
You can order it at Alamo Club, the new Texas-style pub on Lowest Greenville, and with flavors so complex, I figured I'd have to. There had to be some sort of bartender alchemy involved in making this drink. A housemade tincture? Some obscure bitters?
"It's actually pretty easy," bar manager Kyle Buckelew said, and his recipe bears it out. Crushed cardamom pods are the secret ingredient, though well-chosen bourbon and ginger beer make a big difference, too. Shake one up this weekend and sip your way to spring.
Adapted from Kyle Buckelew of Alamo Club
2 pods cardamom (or 1 dash Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters)
1½ ounces bourbon, preferably Buffalo Trace
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce rich simple syrup (recipe below)
Ginger beer, preferably Fever Tree
Basil leaf for garnish
Muddle the cardamom pods in bottom of shaker. Add ice, then bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters, if you are substituting bitters for the cardamom pods. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with basil leaf. Makes 1 cocktail.
Rich simple syrup: In a small saucepan, dissolve 1 cup sugar in ½ cup water over low heat. Remove and cool to room temperature. Store refrigerated in a closed container for up to a week.