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Strawberry blusters, bourbon finishes

Crafting Altitude’s Kentucky Buck with Jeremy LeBlanc

Altitude’s Kentucky Buck
Altitude’s Kentucky Buck
Place

Altitude Sky Lounge

660 K Street, San Diego

The 22-story high Altitude Sky Lounge stays grounded in the fundamentals of good cocktails, says head mixologist Jeremy LeBlanc. Southern cousin to the Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Buck is a great example.

According to LeBlanc, the Kentucky Buck immigrated with its creator, Erick Castro, from Bourbon & Branch to Rickhouse and Polite Provisions.

The drink claims membership, Castro tells me in an email, in an important subspecies of cocktail which, by any other name, tastes as spicy.

Jeremy LeBlanc

“The name comes from the word ‘buck,’ meaning a Collins-style drink that is topped with either ginger ale or ginger beer,” he says. “Since the drink is really simple, I wanted it to have a really classic-sounding name. Kentucky Buck sounded really cool, since it features bourbon, which so often comes from Kentucky.”

As the author of 2013’s Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending with Flair (Page Street) and a forthcoming whiskey guidebook, LeBlanc admits that he prefers his whiskey neat or at least straight; but he insists the Kentucky Buck makes perfectly good use of perfectly good bourbon.

“The Kentucky Buck is definitely sweet,” LeBlanc says, “so you’re taking all the tasting of the bourbon and substituting it with the sweetness of the simple syrup and the freshness of the strawberries. It’s definitely merged well, though, into this cocktail.”

And for all the strawberry bluster, LeBlanc says, it’s the bourbon that leaves the last and most lasting impression on the palate.

“You’re getting a lot of the fresh flavors of the strawberries prevalent in this cocktail,” he says. “But then at the end, it’s going to finish with a nice, smooth bourbon taste. The ginger beer really adds a lot of elements to it — and it is the key to this drink that ties in the ginger with the fresh strawberries.”


HOW TO MAKE IT

  • 2 oz. Bulleit bourbon
  • 2 fresh strawberries
  • 1 dash simple syrup
  • Juice of half a fresh lime
  • Few splashes of ginger beer

Add strawberries to shaker cup, muddle with simple syrup, add bourbon, lime juice, and ice, shake vigorously, strain into copper cup (or lowball glass) filled with ice, top with ginger beer, and garnish with lime wedge and three mint leaves.

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Altitude’s Kentucky Buck
Altitude’s Kentucky Buck
Place

Altitude Sky Lounge

660 K Street, San Diego

The 22-story high Altitude Sky Lounge stays grounded in the fundamentals of good cocktails, says head mixologist Jeremy LeBlanc. Southern cousin to the Moscow Mule, the Kentucky Buck is a great example.

According to LeBlanc, the Kentucky Buck immigrated with its creator, Erick Castro, from Bourbon & Branch to Rickhouse and Polite Provisions.

The drink claims membership, Castro tells me in an email, in an important subspecies of cocktail which, by any other name, tastes as spicy.

Jeremy LeBlanc

“The name comes from the word ‘buck,’ meaning a Collins-style drink that is topped with either ginger ale or ginger beer,” he says. “Since the drink is really simple, I wanted it to have a really classic-sounding name. Kentucky Buck sounded really cool, since it features bourbon, which so often comes from Kentucky.”

As the author of 2013’s Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending with Flair (Page Street) and a forthcoming whiskey guidebook, LeBlanc admits that he prefers his whiskey neat or at least straight; but he insists the Kentucky Buck makes perfectly good use of perfectly good bourbon.

“The Kentucky Buck is definitely sweet,” LeBlanc says, “so you’re taking all the tasting of the bourbon and substituting it with the sweetness of the simple syrup and the freshness of the strawberries. It’s definitely merged well, though, into this cocktail.”

And for all the strawberry bluster, LeBlanc says, it’s the bourbon that leaves the last and most lasting impression on the palate.

“You’re getting a lot of the fresh flavors of the strawberries prevalent in this cocktail,” he says. “But then at the end, it’s going to finish with a nice, smooth bourbon taste. The ginger beer really adds a lot of elements to it — and it is the key to this drink that ties in the ginger with the fresh strawberries.”


HOW TO MAKE IT

  • 2 oz. Bulleit bourbon
  • 2 fresh strawberries
  • 1 dash simple syrup
  • Juice of half a fresh lime
  • Few splashes of ginger beer

Add strawberries to shaker cup, muddle with simple syrup, add bourbon, lime juice, and ice, shake vigorously, strain into copper cup (or lowball glass) filled with ice, top with ginger beer, and garnish with lime wedge and three mint leaves.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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