Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

Gold Rush Cocktail Recipe

When we think of classic cocktails, we think of internationally renowned, decades-long favorites born in bars so old we barely know their origins. The gold rush? A recent classic, made in 2000 at the famous Milk & Honey in New York. According to an interview on Punching with TJ Siegal, the drink was a riff on his favorite, the bourbon sour, made silky smooth with the addition of honey syrup. Since Siegal drank his sours without egg and on the rocks, the gold rush is served in the same way, otherwise different from a classic whiskey sour.

The original gold rush was made with a thick honey syrup, with a 3:1 honey to water ratio. In our recipe below, developer Michelle McGlinn uses a thinner 1:1 ratio, for a consistency much like simple syrup. Whether you like more honey or less, the drink has a rich and smooth mouthfeel, made airy and light by shaking twice before pouring it over ice. Garnish with lemon and thyme or nothing like the original developer at all – either way, you’ll have a delicious new sour to enjoy.

Collect your gold rush ingredients

Making this cocktail for the first time takes a few extra minutes of prep to make the silky honey syrup, but otherwise it takes very little time and few ingredients. Once you’ve mixed the honey and water into a syrup, grab your favorite bourbon whiskey and a lemon. Any bourbon will do, and it doesn’t have to be high end. Don’t like bourbon? Switch to gin for a Bee’s Knees cocktail.

Make the honey syrup

Making honey syrup is just like making simple syrup, and maybe even easier. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the honey, stirring constantly to prevent the sugars from burning. The honey dilutes and mixes with the water, creating a smooth syrup consistency. The syrup will swirl with thin white foam as the honey dissolves, a sign that it’s ready. Remove from heat and let cool completely, then store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Shake the liquids dry

Shaking this cocktail dry is an optional but clever bartender hack to get the smoothest drink. Because honey is dense even in a syrup, shaking without ice helps the honey combine and froth up before chilling the drink. Pour the ingredients into the shaker without ice and shake, covering the lid with a towel to prevent foam from escaping. Shake vigorously for more than 30 seconds to give the ingredients time to combine and froth up.

Add ice and shake again

Whether you’ve shaken the liquids dry or skipped that step, fill the shaker with ice and shake the liquids to cool. Shake for about 15 seconds or until the shaker feels cold. Grab a glass, highball, or even a coupe and strain the drink over ice, crushing if your lemon juice is particularly pulpy. This drink can also be drunk neat without ice, depending on your preference for bourbon strength.

Garnish and serve

This cocktail can be garnished simply or extravagantly thanks to its golden hue and inherent simplicity. For a classic garnish, add a slice of lemon or a slice for extra lemon flavor. Use a lemon twist instead to make it fancier. If you’re serving on the eve of fall, try adding fresh thyme or rosemary for a nice herb garnish, or if you’re serving in the summer, try a bunch of mint. This cocktail is super customizable and can be served for almost any occasion and in any season. Wondering what to serve this with? Because it is so closely related to a whiskey sour, serve it as a pre-dinner aperitif with marinated feta and olives, salty charcuterie, and fried artichokes.