Cocktail Hour: The Bourbon Slush

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at wine me, dine me. Last week I had quite a large party, and tried to think of something awesome as a punch, enough to make in large batches so I could relax a little. I ended up going back to an old favorite: the Bourbon Slush. Terry wrote about it a couple of summers ago, so I’m going to repost it as part of Cocktail Hour. A few notes:

1. We found out you can mix it in a punch bowl, but it’s best to add the lemon-lime soda to the bowl, and not just allow people to pour it over. Most people just forgot the soda. Apparently they still all liked it, though!

2. Benchmark is a fabulous bourbon for this purpose. At Kroger in Newport, it was $17 for 1.75 liters.  As low price is not necessarily a good sign, but the very helpful guy at Kroger said it was an “underrated” Bourbon that was good for mixing. Jay Erisman agrees:

What a Bourbon sleeper! A killer value, Benchmark is perhaps uncomplex, but there’s no denying the ripe and fat corn juiciness, leavened with a teasing sweet-dry character. Despite a generous eight years in wood, the whisky is fresh and balanced. Straight-ahead Bourbon and highly drinkable, Benchmark would make a splendid house whiskey.

You might also try Ancient Ancient Age.  There are lots of good, value-priced bourbons that may not be great for sipping, but work wonderfully in recipes like this.

We still have a couple of batches in the freezer, and it keeps well (I dished myself up some last night).  Michelle makes hers with peach tea, which I’ll bet is awesome, but Terry made it with just regular, black tea.  It might be fun to experiment with various teas that would work with the citrus in this drink.  Enjoy on a hot summer day (like this one might turn out to be!).

Bourbon Slush

(Guest post by The Boyfriend, originally posted July 13, 2008)

Do you ever forget about favorite recipes?

Perhaps you prepared a dish so often that you temporarily burned out on it…and then forgot about it. Maybe you made the dish only on special occasions…and those special occasions didn’t occur for a while.

But have you ever said to yourself, for whatever reason, “You know, I haven’t made Dish X in ages!”? And then ran to the store to get the ingredients because you couldn’t wait to put it together? All the while recalling pleasant memories of the dish?

It was in this vein that I re-discovered the perfect summer drink: The Bourbon Slush.

On a recent hot afternoon, I was looking for something to add to my mental file of “Beverages, Summer, Refreshing.” This file normally contains three beverages:
1. Beer
2. A 50/50 mix of fruit juice and Sprite
3. Beer

About fifteen years ago, I stumbled across the bourbon slush. And it was a happy accident, indeed. Light. Refreshing. Quick. Perfect for summertime. I made at least one batch of the drink during each of the next several summers. Then, inexplicably, the drink just dropped off my culinary radar for probably ten years.

Just as inexplicably, the drink re-emerged from recipe purgatory. I have no idea as to why I thought of it, but I did. I pulled the recipe that a friend and I had freely adapted from an old charity cookbook that I found years ago on a bargain table in a Philadelphia bookstore (A Second Helping, published by the women’s ministries of Gloria Dei Church).

And I headed to the grocery store.

I returned half an hour later and went to work…

The Bourbon Slush
2 cups strong tea (3 or even 4 teabags)
1 1/2 cups sugar
12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 1/2 cups bourbon
6 cups water
Sprite or 7-Up

Dissolve the sugar in the tea while the tea is still hot. Add all remaining ingredients, and pour into a large freezer-safe container. Put the mixture into the freezer. Stir the mixture every couple of hours for the next 24 hours, until the mixture has frozen. Because of the alcohol, it won’t freeze solidly, but will retain a slushy consistency (hence the name “Bourbon Slush“…clever, no?) (Note: The original recipe, titled “Slushy Beach Drink,” called for only a half cup of bourbon, and listed even THAT as “optional.” Right.)

To serve, fill a glass (any size) two-thirds to three-quarters full of the slush mixture. Give the mixture an extra splash of bourbon (this step is optional, but highly recommended). Finish filling the glass with Sprite or 7-Up. Stir. Enjoy.

The mixture will keep in the freezer for weeks. Once you’ve made the slush mixture, it’s two minutes from freezer to glass. Quick. Easy. Extremely tasty.

So…when was the last time you remembered a long-lost favorite recipe?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Edward Branley, Julie Niesen. Julie Niesen said: [New Post] Cocktail Hour: The Bourbon Slush – via #twitoaster […]

  2. CincyCapell says:

    That sounds like a great cocktail Julie, it’s one that I’ve never tried. You should also try Old Forester Bonded, it’s a great bourbon and a tremendous value. The 80 proof version is OK, but the 100 proof bonded is tremendous, with lots of rye spiciness and a smooth finish. I buy it on the 1.75ml value size-it’s my go to bourbon.

  3. Becky says:

    This is the drink of my childhood. My parents always made this and I always took a little nip…
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..Los Angeles – Here I come! =-.

  4. Mark Smith says:

    Sounds good! If one wants to make a super quick bourbon drink – try my Black Cherry Julep.
    – Ice
    – Black Cherry Bourbon
    -Fresh mint
    – Blender
    Go to town. Its not pretty but it will make you feel pretty.

  5. AllyCovington says:

    Oh, the bourbon slush! Had my first one at a Christmas party at an old manager’s house – not sure if the recipe was exactly the same, but she definitely knew how to put one together. That, considering I don’t particularly enjoy bourbon (I know, I’m a shameful excuse for a Kentuckian!)

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