The Buck is a style of cocktail that mixes ginger beer or ginger ale with citrus and spirit. So bourbon, ginger beer and citrus create a bourbon buck, while gin, ginger beer and citrus form a gin buck. And so on.
Perhaps my favorite of the bunch is a bourbon buck. And while bourbon, ginger beer and citrus make a fine drink indeed, the buck template is a great basis for modifications. For example, San Francisco bartender Erick Castro’s well-publicized Kentucky Buck adds muddled strawberry and bitters to bourbon, lemon juice and ginger beer for good effect.
Muddled peach is another good option, if you’re into peaches. The Taylor’s Buck (pictured), from Dallas cocktail spot, Bolsa, dresses up the bourbon buck with apple and Peychaud’s Bitters. Also good.
Whichever route you go – whether classic, fruited or otherwise modified – the bourbon buck is an easy drink to make at home. Here’s a quick recipe to get you started:
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 strawberries or peach slices
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Muddle fruit with lemon juice and simple syrup. Add bourbon and bitters, then shake with ice. Strain over ice into a collins glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with the fruit of your choice.
As noted above, ginger ale can be used in a buck, but ginger beer is preferable, as its spicy bite stands up better in the cocktail.