If any mixed drink demonstrates the flexibility of some classic cocktail forms, it is the daisy. While most versions of the drink agree that a daisy is essentially a sour where the sweet stuff is a liqueur (instead of just sugar), a brief skim through the classic cocktail guides of yesteryear will show how broad an umbrella that is. Often that liqueur is orange, but sometimes it is yellow Chartreuse or even maraschino. Daisies can have a little club soda or not—and sometimes they can have quite a bit. Other versions seem to land closer to a fix, dashed with fruit syrup—or even served on shaved ice.
Many bartenders feel that it’s hard to balance a cocktail with only liqueur, and it has long been a custom at many famous cocktail bars to bolster the boozy sweet stuff with actual sugar. The simplest way is to use a little simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar) and a little less liqueur, as we have here, in what is a pretty classic whiskey daisy. If you want to get wily, try using a half-portion of raspberry syrup instead.
Feel free to add a touch of club soda if you want to loosen a daisy up. It can give your daisy an old-school feel, but if you go too heavy, your daisy will end up in Collins territory. As for the whiskey, I personally like rye in this variation—Wild Turkey Rye is a great place to start. But that’s not a mandate; feel free to experiment with bourbon too.
Add 2 oz. whiskey, ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice, ½ oz. orange liqueur, and ¼ oz. simple syrup (1:1) to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Seal and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain with a Hawthorne strainer into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and add a splash of club soda, if using. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.
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Smooth and delicious.
Long Beach, CA
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