Kentucky Buck

Erick Castro, Polite Provisions | San Diego, CA

Traditionally, a buck is made with ginger ale, but in this take on the long, summery cooler bartender Erick Castro uses homemade ginger syrup and soda water to create a bubbly cocktail with more bite. It’s named for Kentucky’s state spirit—bourbon, of course—and with the addition of a muddled strawberry and fresh lemon, it couldn’t be better suited to a long, lazy afternoon.


Serving: 1

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce ginger syrup (see Editor's Note)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 strawberry
  • soda water, to top

Garnish: lemon wheel

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle strawberry with ginger syrup.
  2. Add lemon juice, bourbon, bitters and ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Double-strain into a Collins glass over ice and top with club soda.
  4. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Editor's Note

Castro uses three-parts sugar to four-parts ginger juice for his ginger syrup. If you can't find fresh ginger juice, try muddling a two-inch chunk of ginger (chopped into small pieces) with the simple syrup before muddling the strawberry. Adjust amount of ginger up or down depending on desired heat.