We have a dear friend who has broken some kind of record among anyone we personally know. Karen Clarke has held both an annual Christmas party and an annual summer barbecue many years before we met her. Today’s recipe will focus on something she and her neighbors shared with us at her summer party.
Nineteen years ago, Karen moved to Mulberry Point in Guilford, Connecticut. On the first Labor Day Weekend in her new home, she was riding her bike. Other residents were on the beach, enjoying the weather and the view of the Long Island Sound. They called her over to help celebrate and she was initiated into a long-held tradition.
It turned out the community of Mulberry Point consisted of year-round residents and people who used their homes on the point as vacation spots. Karen was invited to partake of the annual end-of-summer celebration, when the permanent residents would raise a toast to the summer folks as they’d be closing up for the season and heading back to their regular lives. They were saluted with an original cocktail called the Mulberry Point Sour.
- 12 ounces bourbon
- one 12-ounce can of frozen lemonade concentrate
- one bottle of beer
- 12 ounces of water
Here’s how the longtime residents of Mulberry Point make their singular cocktail. Fill a large glass pitcher with ice. Add the frozen lemonade concentrate first. It doesn’t matter if this is melting a bit from the summer sun. Whatever is frozen won’t be after you combine everything and stir it.
Pour in a pint or bottle of premium quality beer. Make sure it’s cold. Next comes the whiskey, which is up for some debate on the Point. Top shelf brands can be used, but that is often lost in the casualness of this cocktail, what with the low-rent frozen lemonade concentrate. We’ve used everything from Woodford Reserve to Maker’s Mark to Jack Daniels. For the photo shoot, we threw in some Jim Beam we were given as a gift. It worked just fine.
Stir in the pitcher like crazy and take a test sip. If you’re looking for a summer drink to knock a few lightweights out, you’re good to stop your mixology now. If you’d like a pitcher of something a little less potent, add up to twelve ounces of cold water, which you can easily measure out in the empty lemonade can.
When we mix up a batch of Mulberry Point Sours at home, we top each glass with a Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherry for an extra bit of class. When I’m mixing a double batch every half-hour at one of Karen’s parties, there’s usually no time for garnish.
We don’t know who the original mixologist was who first put together the Mulberry Point Sour. Residents have come and gone from the Point in the intervening decades, but the recipe has been handed down like a local heirloom. There were many of Karen’s parties when, with my graduate school bartending days coming to use, I was pressed into service, and entrusted with the recipe, I’d mix pitcher after pitcher of the drink the locals proudly called their own.
We count ourselves fortunate to be among the few outsiders invited to the annual summer and Christmas parties at Karen’s on Mulberry Point. We always look forward to seeing Karen, Allison, Joel, Geralyn, Bob, and all our friends there. You, however, can experience the summer fun at any time with the secret recipe of a Mulberry Point Sour. Mix up a few pitchers this weekend and have a happy Labor Day.