Wine and Spirits

The Ducky Sunshine

Memphis's Peabody Hotel Lobby Bar serves up a drink.

I feel like this would be a good starter cocktail for somebody drinking whiskey.

THOUGH JACK DANIEL'S PLAYS the central role in the Ducky Sunshine, bartender Julie Grayson, of Memphis, Tennessee’s Peabody Hotel Lobby Bar, designed this drink for whiskey lovers and casual bourbon drinkers alike. “I feel like this would be a good starter cocktail for somebody drinking whiskey,” says Grayson. “But at the same time, if somebody didn't want straight whiskey, they'd be able to drink this as well.” The Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, alongside the simple syrup and honey, gives the drink a sweet and spicy kick with a golden hue. Think of the Ducky Sunshine as a more complex but approachable version of the whiskey ginger. You can make this drink anywhere, though Grayson’s version takes a bit more skill and attention to detail than firing a soda gun at a glass.

"Ducky" refers to the famed Peabody Hotel ducks. Each morning at 11 a.m., the hotel’s resident ducks, followed by the hotel’s duckmaster (which is a real job), descend by elevator from their rooftop mansion. The hotel rolls out a red carpet before them, and the ducks promenade across the lobby to a marble fountain, where they frolic until cocktail hour.

Interestingly enough, Tennessee whiskey may have led to this whimsical tradition. Peabody Hotel marketing director Kelly Brock says the legend goes like this: In 1933, the hotel’s general manager and his hunting partner were drinking Jack Daniel’s when, in a fit of boozy inspiration, they moved their live duck decoys into the hotel fountain. “It was not legal to drink Jack Daniel’s, or any kind of alcoholic drink — it was prohibition still — but they took some Jack Daniel’s with them and had a little bit too much fun, I guess,” Grayson adds.

Feel the history of the Prohibition era and the Peabody when you sip a Ducky Sunshine — like enjoying an appropriate amount of sunshine with your moonshine.


The Ducky Sunshine


  • 1 ¼ oz of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel
  • 1 oz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ oz of simple syrup
  • 1 oz of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 1 tsp of honey


  1. Combine ingredients in a standard 10–12 oz rocks glass. Add ice. Pour between glass and shaker a couple times to blend. Garnish with a burnt lemon twist.

Our Contributors

Jessica Suarez Writer

Jessica Suarez is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

Grant Cornett Photographer

Grant Cornett is a photographer and director based in upstate New York. He likes to take pictures of pristine detritus and austere moments.


Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.