I am known among my friends and family for mixing a mean cocktail, and this one has become my signature in the last year or two. I call it the Gold Rush, and it is very simple. To start, you will need bourbon, honey, and lemons.
Let's talk bourbon for a minute. Pictured here is Bulleit, which I find quite tasty and smooth. It also has the added advantage of being available at Trader Joe's in my area for just over $20 a bottle. My other favorite inexpensive bourbon is Buffalo Trace , but it is a little harder for me to find - it usually requires a trip to BevMo. If you want to go high end, I'm a fan of Woodford Reserve.
Now that your liquor cabinet is stocked, the first step in making a Gold Rush is creating a honey syrup. This is very simple: equal parts honey and water, heated until the honey dissolves. Take it off the heat, pour it into a bowl or pitcher (you just want to get it out of the hot pan), and set it in the refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile, it's time to juice some lemons.
The citrus squeezer you see here is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I got mine at Williams-Sonoma several years ago (with a gift card courtesy of Elissa - thanks, E!), but it looks like they don't carry this exact one anymore. Crate & Barrel has one that is very similar, however. These squeezers make quick work of a pile of lemons or limes and are great to have around if you like to make citrus-based cocktails.
Now it is time to start mixing. The ratio for Gold Rushes is three parts bourbon to two parts honey syrup to one part lemon juice. So, if you were making just one, that would be 1.5 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce honey syrup, and half an ounce of lemon juice. I tend to make these for parties, so I scale up to 3 cups bourbon, about 2 cups honey syrup (made from 1 cup each of honey and water - you lose a little volume in the cooking process, but that's fine), and one cup of fresh lemon juice (usually about six medium lemons' worth of juice). This makes about 12 generous cocktails. I like to serve them over ice in rocks glasses, but you could also shake them with ice and strain them into cocktail glasses, if you want to be fancy. A lemon wedge or a twist is a nice garnish.
Although I have quite a few friends who claim to hate all kinds of whiskey, this is a crowd-pleasing drink. The honey really smoothes out any bite from the bourbon, and the lemon keeps it from being too cloyingly sweet. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!