Weekly Cocktail #62: The Kentucky Monk (And The Kentucky Buck)

monkHmm…I guess we should start calling these “monthly” cocktails.

Anyway, things keep moving here at the farm. And times are good. A California horse won the Kentucky Derby, all while we were sipping one of our Mint Juleps. Very Nice. And we have strawberries in the garden (blueberries, too). So while the connection may be tenuous, we started looking for bourbon-based cocktails that use strawberries….as we have said before, it doesn’t take much inspiration to get us mixing drinks.

monk10monk8And as luck would have it, our latest version of Imbibe magazine just arrived (you do subscribe, don’t you?) and had an article on “new classic” cocktails. The article included some of our favorites like the Bramble and the Jasmine, but it also included a drink we had not tried, the Kentucky Buck. The Kentucky Buck, a creation of Erick Castro, combines bourbon, muddled strawberry, lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters and ginger beer. Basically this is a bourbon buck with more going on. And like most “bucks” (spirits, ginger beer / ale, citrus), is a very tasty drink for summer.

monk9monk6But since we have a bunch of strawberries (we are a farm / garden, after all), we decided to riff on the Kentucky Buck and bring out more of the strawberries. And the next steps were easy, we doubled the strawberries and then subbed Yellow Chartreuse for the simple syrup. And this is the key, the Yellow Chartreuse works with lemon and bourbon, but also adds sweet herbal notes that compliment the strawberries. What you get is all the sweet / sour flavor of the lemon, strawberries and ginger beer, but also complex herbal flavors all through the sip. Yum. And since Chartreuse is a big player here, we changed the name to the Kentucky Monk. Regardless, we suggest you try either version.

monk7monk4One last note. We often buck (get it?) the trend and suggest using ginger ale rather than ginger beer in our bucks. While ginger beer can be better at times, we find the quality can be inconsistent and the musky flavors mask lighter spirits like gin (or vodka). But when working with bourbon or darker rums, we do suggest using a good ginger beer, as these spirits hold up to the bigger flavors. Either way, with summer coming, keep bucks in mind when planning your next party….

monk1The Kentucky Monk:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. bourbon (Four Roses Yellow)
  • 2 medium strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale, chilled
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

Assemble:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries, then add ice, bourbon, lemon juice, Chartreuse and bitters. Shake until chilled.
  2. Double-strain the mixture into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lemon wheel. Serve.

—–

The Kentucky Buck:

(by Erick Castro)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. bourbon (Four Roses Yellow)
  • 1 medium strawberry, hulled
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ginger beer or ginger ale, chilled
  • Lemon wheel, for garnish

Assemble:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberry, then add ice, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake until chilled.
  2. Double-strain the mixture into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lemon wheel. Serve.
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19 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #62: The Kentucky Monk (And The Kentucky Buck)

    • The original is super-easy to make and the ingredients are also simple. But if you have the Chartreuse, I would try both. As long as the strawberries are good, this is great sip…

  1. Yum, I adore ginger beer, and can find this brand at Trader Joe’s. I wish you were my neighbor. Lovely post.
    Good luck at the next round of the Triple Crown! This horse is so large and so young, I hope he can handle the strain of this endurance test. Fingers crossed, as he is my choice too. Diane

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  6. Hey Stewart,

    Thanks for this recipe! I recently tried my hand at brewing Ginger Beer and included this as a cocktail that should be considered.

    In addition, you may be able to overcome the inconsistency of the Ginger Beers you’ve encountered by making your own ginger syrup, which will allow you to tailor the level of spice to your taste.

    Cheers!

    Bill

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