The Ixia Box by Japanese Australian artist Junichi Yananose is named for the pretty Ixia flowers which adorn the top. I’m bringing things back home to Texas, by way of Kentucky, for a cocktail to pair with it. The Ixia flower is a species of corn lily, so we will start our liquid lesson off with a nod to a famous lily cocktail, the Oaks Lily. Most will have heard of horseracing’s main event, the famed Kentucky Derby which we celebrated at Boxes and Booze this year with a Champagne Mint Julep. Many will not be as familiar with the companion race, held the day before, known as the Kentucky Oaks. Run by fillies rather than colts, the victor is draped in a garland of lilies instead of roses. And like the Derby’s Mint Julep, the Oaks has its own traditional drink of choice, the Oaks Lily. I’m not making any judgement calls about this new classic, made with vodka, lemon juice, orange liqueur and cranberry juice, but it’s not a bad place to start, at least. From there we can head back to Texas, as promised. I wanted to capture the essence of the “corn” for this corn lily cocktail, which means bourbon. Bourbon is by definition a whiskey made with at least 51% corn mash. But Texas bourbon, you say? You’re damn right! In fact, one of the most interesting and award winning corn whiskies in recent times come from the Balcones Distillery located in Waco, Texas. Their “Baby Blue” bourbon was the first Texas whiskey on the market since Prohibition and is created using 100% heirloom blue corn. The innovative team from Balcones makes truly handcrafted bourbon using copper stills in small batches to retain the unique flavors and nuances, which in the case of the Baby Blue includes notes of toffee, cinnamon, butter, vanilla, brown sugar and kettle corn, to name a few. Mmmmmmm. I’ve adapted the original Oaks Lily cocktail with Baby Blue bourbon as the star attraction for a richly rewarding treat. Here’s to creativity blooming in unlikely places – cheers!
2 oz Balcones Baby Blue bourbon
¾ oz fresh lemon
½ oz cranberry liqueur
½ oz orange liqueur
½ oz demerara syrup
Shake together with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with a citrus peel flower.
For more about incredible Ixia Box see:
Boxes and Booze: Feeling Corny