the 23 cocktail | spring bourbon cocktails

Today is one of those days that solidifies my choice to live in Colorado.  However, the weather in March can be so deceiving; you must form a loose attachment to it, for it can completely shift the very next day.  What a lesson in savoring the beauty of the present.  This warm, sunny afternoon simply beckons one to sit outside, take in a few relaxing breaths, and, perhaps, imbibe a refreshing cocktail with friends on a patio.  I am about to run by the grocery store, in order to pick up some Dr. Pepper, a necessary ingredient for one of the most popular specialty cocktails we feature at my restaurant.  …I would much rather be outside sipping this!
The Twenty-3 cocktail, whose main ingredients are bourbon and a reduction of Dr. Pepper.

The Twenty-3 is a bourbon-based cocktail that is a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and spice.  Dr. Pepper’s professed 23 ingredients were the inspiration for this cocktail’s name.  My lead mixologist, Chris, deserves much praise for creating this yummy treat.  The cocktail itself is quite easy to make, but it does take about 45 minutes to make the Dr. Pepper reduction.

For a small get-together, I would take a liter of Dr. Pepper and reduce it over a slow boil on the stove-top, until the liquid is reduced by half.  By reducing the soda, the flavors are concentrated, the viscosity is increased, and the carbon dioxide is released.

Build the following ingredients in a pint glass, filled with ice.  Stir them with a bar-spoon about 25 stirs, and pour the contents, along with the ice, into a double old-fashioned glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

  • 1 1/2 ounces of Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 1/2 ounces of Dr. Pepper reduction
  • 1/2 ounce of lemon juice
  • 1 bar-spoon of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Jayme Henderson

Occupationally speaking, I am a sommelier and mixologist at a busy, upscale Denver restaurant. I am lucky enough to spend most days tasting, pairing, and creating, alongside my cherished guests. I am also a contributor at the Kitchn, where I write about wine and gardening, tour cooks' kitchens, and interview innovative growers and makers. When I am not wearing those shoes, you can find me in my garden, preserving, painting, designing, and documenting my experiences along the way. I'm currently learning calligraphy and trying my best at home brewing. And I am seriously obsessed with my cats. And rosé.