The Amateur

In the communopoly, we are fans of Japanese food in part because of the mingling of flavours that epitomizes that cuisine. Taking that idea as inspiration, I started searching for a cocktail that would be both easy to assemble (because I’m slammed with being back to school) and pleasantly mellow at the end of a long day. This week’s presentation meets both criteria.

The Amateur is a modern cocktail, another pick from Cocktail Culture by Shawn Soole and Nate Caudle. It is the invention of Dave Kelsey, one of the guest contributors to Soole and Caudle’s book. We’ve adapted it slightly for our setting.


  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • several basil leaves (ours were small, so we used 4 or 5 per drink)
  • 1.5 ounces bourbon whiskey (we used Bulleit)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Angostura Bitters, to garnish


Muddle the cucumber slices and basil leaves in your shaker. Add the bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, plus ice. Shake. Double-strain into glass. Garnish with a few drops of bitters.

muddle1The verdict: We like this. It’s nicely balanced, and the cucumber adds a fresh aromatic. It’s also a delicate colour with deeper-green highlights. Definitely easy drinking. As a bonus, the flavours complement the light and heat of late summer/early autumn.

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