February 17, 2022

M5 Top 5 – Cocktail Edition

M5 Top 5 – Cocktail Edition

At the end of a long day on the ranch, there’s nothing better than a five o’clock cocktail with Brian. Sometimes we’ll grab an ice-cold ‘chore beer’ to make the evening rounds. When we finally call it a day, I’ll juice some citrus and add bourbon, then shake it in a cocktail shaker and pour my favorite drink. Only then do I kick my boots off and feel like I earned it. Our evening ritual extends to family and friends or whoever might be visiting. Most know that they’ll be offered a sidecar or a chore beer shortly after arrival if it’s late afternoon.

Here are a handful of my favorites 🙂

Classic Sidecar

Ah… the Classic M5 Sidecar! This drink has become so well known at the Burgerhouse that people come from all over to sample it. Traditionally sidecars are made with brandy, but I’m a bourbon lover, so I had to adapt it accordingly. We always try to use Meyer lemons, which are more fragrant and sweeter than regular lemons, and I recommend using them if you can. If you want your cocktail a little less boozy, substitute maple syrup or honey simple syrup (see below) for the orange liqueur. At the bar, we sometimes use jalapeño simple syrup for a kicked-up version, or alternatively, top it with seltzer to lighten it up.


• 2 oz. Meyer lemon juice
• 2 oz. bourbon (we use Five Marys or Bulleit)
• 1 oz. Cointreau
• Sugar for rim
• Ice for shaking
• Lemon for garnish


Use a slice of lemon to wet the rim of a martini or coupe glass and dip glass into sugar to make your sugared rim.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour lemon juice, bourbon, and Cointreau into shaker and give it a good shake! Strain the sidecar from the cocktail shaker into your glass with a strainer or the top of your cocktail shaker. Garnish with either a lemon twist or wedge.

Ranch 75 Mimosa

My sister-in-law, Kat, and I are often in charge of big family gatherings and the twice-annual cousin campout, so when we are planning activities for nineteen Heffernan cousins, we like to make a big batch of mimosas for the adults. This ranch-style version with a dash of gin really takes it to a whole new level.


• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
• 1/2 cup sparkling wine or prosecco
• 1 oz. gin
• Grenadine
• 1 slice orange, halved


Divide the orange juice among two chilled champagne glasses, then top evenly with the sparkling wine. Pour 1/2 ounce gin into each glass, then top with a splash of grenadine. Garnish with half an orange slice.

Whiskey Punch

I like to pour this cocktail from a cute vintage pitcher into a bunch of pretty, mismatched vintage glasses. It makes it so fun to serve to guests, and fits the old-fashioned theme. This recipe is just a starting point and can be easily adjusted according to your tastes. Try substituting a different juice or using lemon-lime soda instead of ginger ale. Whiskey is a great option because it gives it a nice deep flavor, but I recommend using a sweet (not smoky) one for a crowd-pleasing punch.

(Makes 1 pitcher)

• Ice cubes
• 4 cups cranberry juice
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 cups whiskey or bourbon (I recommend sweet or smokey for this drink!)
• 4 cups ginger ale
• Lemon slices


Fill a large pitcher half full with ice. Pour the ingredients into the pitcher in the following order: first the cranberry juice, then lemon juice, then whiskey, and finally ginger ale. Do not stir. Add lemon slices to the rim of the pitcher. Stir just before serving within 30 minutes.

Jalapeño-Lime Margarita

I love a summer evening outside with a spicy margarita and big platter or steak nachos. I grow jalapeños in my garden and believe there is no better way to use them fresh in a cocktail than this. I like mine extra spicy with a coarse salt rim, but you can adjust the amount of spiciness to your liking by using less jalapeño or removing the seeds.

(Makes 2 servings)

• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 3 lime wedges, divided
• 1/4 cup honey simple syrup (see below)
• 6 thick slices of fresh jalapeño, divided
• 1/2 cup (4 oz.) tequila
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)


Pour the salt into a shallow dish. Rub the rims of two glasses with 1 of the lime wedges and dip the rims in the salt to create a salted rim.

In a cocktail shaker, add the simple syrup and 4 of the jalapeño slices. Using a muddler, muddle the jalapeño until softened but still intact. Fill the shaker half full with ice. Add the tequila and lime juice and shake until well mixed. Divide evenly among the glasses. Garnish each glass with a lime wedge and jalapeño slice.

Cowgirl Cooler

This is a fun new cocktail that we serve at the Burgerhouse. It’s a super refreshing one – perfect for a summer happy hour outside with friends. There are a few variations that we offer… for a ‘Blackberry Smash’ just substitute blackberry purée for the passionfruit and for a ‘Pear-Thyme Cooler’ just substitute pear purée for the passionfruit… both equally delicious!


• 2 oz. bourbon (we use Five Marys or Bulleit)
• 1 oz. honey-thyme simple syrup (see below)
• 1 oz. Meyer lemon juice
• 2 oz. passionfruit purée
• Spring of thyme for garnish
• Lemon for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice, and passionfruit purée into a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake!

Fill a stemless wine glass with ice and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and lemon wheel.


Simple syrup is a great way to not only add sweetness to a cocktail but also flavor. It can be as straightforward as one part water to one part sugar, but it’s also easy to infuse fresh herbs, spices, or other seasonings. Here are two of my favorites that we use at the Burgerhouse…



• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/4 cup water


In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm honey and water, stirring until the honey dissolves. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. The simple syrup with keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.



• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 cup water
• 10 sprigs fresh thyme


In a small saucepan over medium-how heat, warm sugar, water, and honey until the sugar and honey is dissolved. Add sprigs of thyme and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and strain the syrup into an airtight container. The simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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