With a mash bill featuring about 74% white corn from the Texas panhandle, the first thing most people pick up on when they open up a bottle of Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon is the sweetness. That first whiff will hit you with heavy notes of honey and caramel, and maybe a bit of cinnamon on the end. Upon a second inhale, more distinguishing bourbon drinkers may begin to pick up on a bit of nuttiness, freshly cut grass, and something floral. Those earthier flavor notes can often get lost once you start mixing the bourbon with other cocktail fixings, largely because the majority of cocktails tend to air on the sweeter side. However, a little creativity and experimentation can turn out a fantastic cocktail that plays more to the savory palate, bringing the earthier, more vegetal flavors in Garrison Brothers to the forefront. 

Video Credit: Side B Productions

During the 2019 Bourbon Takeover of Texas, Hugo Osorio was “really inspired by contrast” and stunned judges with the innovative ingredients and techniques that he used to craft the earthy, spicy, floral concoction that he named “Invitation to Friendship.” Osorio describes the cocktail as “both unique and unheard of, yet quite familiar. Like a drink you’ve loved before but in a presentation that surprises you”. His influences included “the vegetal quality of artichoke and lemon zest, complemented by hibiscus and coffee” which are “ingredients so rarely included in a group and yet seem to play so well together that it seems odd they never played together before.” In fact, it impressed and surprised the judges so much that he was chosen to advance on to the Bourbon Brawl semi-finals in Dallas,TX. This recipe is not for the novice mixologist, as Osorio used a number of advanced techniques to infuse flavors of coffee, citrus, and pepper into several of his ingredients, but it’s a great starting point for anyone looking to try something new behind the bar. 

Invitation to Friendship by Hugo Osorio- Dallas, TX 

  • 2 oz Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon 
  • .25 oz Dried Peppers Turbinado Syrup
  • .5 oz Gran Classico
  • 2 Dashes Hibiscus Tincture
  • 2 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Heavy Rinse of Absinthe Infused With Coffee/Lemon Zest
  • Spices 
  • Artichoke

Do you think your homemade whiskey cocktail can rival the pros? We’re giving you the chance to have your recipe highlighted at the Bourbon Brawl finals competition in Austin! The prize package also includes tickets to semi-finals and finals competition, lodging accommodations for the finals, and other Texas Monthly goodies. Click to enter. Happy mixing!