The Washington Post

Golden Brown Sour Cocktail

Golden Brown Sour Cocktail 1.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Spirits May 20, 2022

It’s best to make this drink, a spicy hybrid of a Brown Derby and a Gold Rush, when you’ve got a little extra grill space during summer cookouts, enough to slide some fruit on. The fire caramelizes the sugars in the fruit and adds a nice smoky flavor. Note that the honey syrup is zippy — if you want less spice, reduce the ratio of hot honey to regular honey in the syrup.

Active time: 15 mins; Total time: 1 hour

Storage Notes: The spicy honey syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Where to Buy: Mike’s Hot Honey can be found at well-stocked supermarkets and online.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • For the spicy honey syrup
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup Mike’s Hot Honey
  • 1/4 cup clover honey
  • For the drink
  • 1/2 grapefruit, plus an additional slice for optional garnish
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half, plus an additional slice for optional garnish
  • Ice (cubes for shaking, one large cube for the drink)
  • 3/4 ounce spicy honey syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon

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Make the spicy honey syrup: In a heatproof container, stir together the hot water with both types of honey until thoroughly combined and syrupy. Let cool completely, then use right away, or cover and refrigerate until needed.

Make the drink: Put a slice of lemon or grapefruit, a half grapefruit, and two halves of a lemon cut side down on grill grates and grill for 10 minutes, ideally with the grill closed to capture the smoke, until the fruit is softened and charred. (Alternatively, position a rack 4 to 5 inches from your broiler and preheat to 400 degrees. Place the fruit on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes or until softened. Turn on the broiler and roast the citrus for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cut side begins to caramelize.) Let the fruits cool, about 10 minutes, then juice them into separate containers and refrigerate until ready to make the drink.

Add a large ice cube to a rocks glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then add 1 ounce of the grilled grapefruit juice, ½ ounce of the grilled lemon juice, the honey syrup and bourbon and shake to dilute and chill, about 20 seconds. Strain into the glass and serve, garnished with a smoked citrus wheel, if using.

Recipe Source

From Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 167

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 0g 0%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 1mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 17g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 16g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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