Gold Rush

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Gold Rush Gold Rush

The Gold Rush is a modern classic, a whiskey cocktail that's Bee’s Knees ( meets Whiskey Sour ( It’s bourbon, honey and lemon. No garnish. No frills. But it is one of the best drinks. It has an unexpectedly complex flavor, especially considering how simple it is to make.

The Gold Rush

It was originally created in the early 2000’s (c. 2002-2003) by T. J. Siegal during his time at the influential Milk & Honey in NY. It quickly became a modern staple, something you can find in most bars that have a decent cocktail program. The surprising simplicity and rich, full flavor of it made Jim Meehan rethink the way he approached cocktails. He freely admits how influential this was in his book, The PDT Cocktail Book, where the recipe is featured.

The recipe is simple enough, but of course there are a few things to keep in mind. As always, you want to use fresh lemon juice. Anything old or bottled or powdered or called “sweet and sour”, you need to pour down the garbage disposal where it belongs. Take the extra minute to squeeze and strain some lemon juice. It makes all the difference.

As far as the honey goes, this is a place where you can play around a little bit. I like my honey syrup ( at a 3:1, honey to water. That’s just enough to make it easier to work with (it won’t stick to the jigger or cocktail shaker), but is rich enough to maintain a full flavor. For this one I like using an Orange Blossom honey. It’s easy to get ahold of and fits well with the bourbon. However, feel free to experiment with some different honeys. See which one you like best.

Similarly, you can tinker with different bourbons. I like an overproof, high-rye bourbon. A low-rye or wheated bourbon will also work, but the relatively spicier quality of the high-rye gives the drink a nice contrast. But out of the two qualities (overproof and high-rye), I think overproof is more essential. You want a bourbon that’s going to be able to stand it’s head above the crowd of lemon and honey. It’s doesn’t need to overpower the sweet and sour, but it needs to be able to be picked out of a line up by your taste buds.

The Gold Rush is extremely well-balanced. And once you’ve had it, knowing how simple it is, you’ll wonder the way I did, how it was that no one came up with this drink before the early 2000’s. It seems like such a logical leap, but then again, once you’ve seen how the magic trick was performed, you smack your forehead and wonder how you could’ve missed it in the first place, which is to say, you only have that thought after you know something, never before. Enough armchair philosophy, it’s time to make a drink. You won’t be disappointed with a Gold Rush. Cheers!

Source: Distinguished Spirits

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Ben Crowley

General manager at MC's Wine & Liquor dedicated to providing the experience and advice you need to find what you are looking for! We are Knoxville's #1 source for Tennessee Moonshine! Call (865) 932-1226


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