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August is for … lots of things!

It’s the hot, steamy, middle of Summer here in Northern Virginia, the perfect time of the year to get a suntan and sauna at the same time. There are also a bunch of fun and quirky “Day of…” and “Week of …” observances, a couple of which we’ll include here.

1. International Beer Day. Although this day occurred earlier in the month, we’re confident that beer lovers are happy to celebrate it every day. Beer has a lengthy history in human culture, from being one of the earliest forms of “on the go” food to a fairly recent resurgence of interest in craft- and home-brewing. As with every other aspect of society, LGBTQ+ folks have made their mark in the world of brewing. Be sure to check out this article from Hop Culture on Queer-led and supporting breweries. 2. National Whiskey Sour Day: August 25. Traditionally garnished with an orange peel and a maraschino cherry, a whiskey sour is a mixed drink containing whiskey (often bourbon), lemon juice and sugar. Whiskey sours are shaken then either served straight or over ice. Sometimes what makes a drink truly delicious is an interesting bouquet of flavors, and a whiskey sour offers just such a blend of flavors. It’s an unusual little mix but the truly distinguished connoisseur knows that there’s little better on a hot day than a cool whiskey sour. Whiskey Sour Day is your chance to experience this fantastic drink, and discover what your favorite variation is. Whiskey sours can also be made as “virgin” (no alcohol) drinks by using ginger ale in place of the whiskey or bourbon. Recipes for Whiskey Sours vary. More simplistic versions use sour mix:

  • 1-½ ounces whiskey (or bourbon, Scotch, Canadian whiskey, or Irish whiskey)

  • 4 ounces sour mix

  • Crushed ice

  • 1 maraschino cherry

  • Combine the whiskey and sour mix in a large Old Fashioned glass with ice. Stir, garnish with cherry, and serve.

For those who prefer to make their own sour mix:

  • 1 ounce lemon juice

  • 1 ounce sugar

  • 2 ounces water

  • Combine lemon juice and sugar, then dilute with water and stir to dissolve sugar.

The Whiskey Sour officially dates back to the 1860s, but sailors in the British Navy had been drinking something very similar long before that. Water was not always dependable on long sea journeys, so to combat that, spirits were often used. Scurvy, too, was another danger on these journeys, so lemons and limes were consumed to help prevent the disease (incidentally, this is also one of the reasons why British folk are called ‘Limeys’). Finally, sugar and water were added for taste. At this point, the drink is probably starting to sound familiar. (Grog, the rum-based favorite of pirates across the seven seas, is made from the same components, substituting whiskey for the sugar cane-based spirit.) Original Whiskey Sour Recipe:

  • (Use a small bar-glass.)

  • Take 1 large tea-spoonful of powdered white sugar dissolved in a little Seltzer or Apollinaris water

  • The juice of half a small lemon

  • 1 wine-glass of Bourbon or rye whiskey

That’s a bit different from the current version, and the amount of whiskey may be just a “touch” more 😉 Other alternative recipes include the addition of an egg white and simple syrup in place of the sugar. If you’ve never tried a Whiskey Sour, do so! Seeing the variations above, make your own variation or tell your bartender what appeals to you: more sweet, virgin, bourbon instead of another whiskey, more whiskey, more citrus, etc. Happy Whiskey Sour Day!

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