My strong stand against single-use ingredients often forces me to avoid interesting-sounding drinks.  For example, the Coachella Cooler, from Beachbum Berry, uses date syrup as a sweetener.  Now, I love dates, and I love… things that contain dates.  So I’ve had my eye on this drink for a while.  But I wasn’t (and still am not) willing to make a batch of date syrup to take up space and slowly moulder in my cocktail fridge.  The raspberry syrup is bad enough, and I use that stuff on a regular basis.

So here’s how it went down, instead.

Coachella Cooler (Beachbum Berry)

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon (Basil Hayden, a recent housegift from an awesome guest)
  • 1 oz water
  • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1(-2) dashes old-fashioned bitters (Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters)
  • 1 date (medjool)
    Remove the seed from the date.  If this is difficult, your date isn’t soft enough for this to work.  Add seeded date and water to mixing glass, and muddle for a minute, until you have a brown, pulpy suspension.  Add everything else.  Shake like the dickens, and double-strain into a cocktail glass.

I’m glad I tried that, because this drink is delicious.  The earthy sweetness of the date and the astringency of the grapefruit really work well with the woody, dry bourbon.  The Maillard-derived date flavors – the caramel and spice – are analogous to cinnamon, which I’ve often written about as a pairing for wood-aged spirits and grapefruit.  I’m pleased to report that an ersatz date syrup seems to be a real possibility, liberating us from one more useless bottle and barrier to cocktail satisfaction.  Definitely a drink that is more than the sum of its parts.