My lifelong close friend Elizabeth Cordes is the queen of the frozen cocktail. During holiday time, she keeps these slushy bourbon sours at the ready in gallon-size Ziploc bags, a habit for which I was especially grateful a few years ago when I hosted an impromptu holiday shindig. I’d made a quick trip to Mississippi and was racing back to New Orleans in time to meet some friends of friends (and their children) from England and Spain at our house for drinks. Unwrapped presents were stacked everywhere, and there was almost no food left in the house. But the tree was pretty and still standing, and I knew we’d have swell music—just behind me on the highway were my great pals Eden Brent and her boyfriend (now husband) Bob Dowell, who plays a mean trombone.
From the road, I invited a handful of neighbors, my husband’s daughter and son-in-law, and Elizabeth, whose magic mix was sure to get things off the ground. It turned out to be one of our best parties ever. We talked and drank and danced and sang until finally, around eleven, somebody noticed that the kids were hungry and we ordered pizza from Domino’s. Refueled, we kept at it until well after midnight.
Until then, at “official” holiday parties, I’d served such seasonal fare as eggnog or Champagne punch, but inspired by the memory of that festive evening, I now fill the punch bowl with the frozen sours instead. Anyway, as my mother continues to remind me, eggnog is strictly a morning drink. — Julia Reed
Frozen Whiskey Sours
Serves about 32
- 3 fifths bourbon whiskey, such as Maker’s Mark
- 2 quarts fresh orange juice
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups sugar
- Four 10-ounce jars maraschino cherries
- 1 orange, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Place the whiskey, orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl (I usually have to resort to a stockpot) and stir vigorously to dissolve the sugar. Dump in one jar of the cherries with their juice and mix well. With a strainer over a medium bowl, strain the rest of the cherries and reserve the juice. Add the cherries to the whiskey mixture and sweeten to taste with the remaining cherry juice.
- Mix well and pour into a large plastic container (a big Tupperware bowl, a couple of pitchers, or the aforementioned Ziploc bags will work). Cover and freeze until slushy (it actually never freezes hard).
- Serve the mixture in a punch bowl, making sure some of the cherries rise to the top. Float a few orange slices on top as well, dotting them in the center with a cherry.
Recipe excerpted from Julia Reed’s South: Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long by Julia Reed (Rizzoli New York). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Paul Costello.