i think i’m going to start opening this blog a little more to the world of drinks. i wanted to stick mainly to JUST food…but i realized that beverages are just as important.
i used to HATE whiskey. i would say that most people like vodka (eh. not my thing, really)…most people like rum (delicious)…a lot of people like tequila (hate hate hate as well). gin and whiskey are a little harder to handle. i thought i was pretty sophisticated for liking gin, and didn’t care too much that i hate whiskey.
but it’s kinda funny - shows like madmen make me really want to start liking whiskey. so i figured, “hey, it’s probably just an acquired taste.” and therefore, i gave it a shot…starting with jack daniels. which i still can’t even stand the smell of. for some reason, it’s way too sour for me. like vinegar sour…i don’t know why.
from there, i moved on to bourbon. i tried maker’s mark straight a few months ago, and it was almost as bad as jack daniels. i will admit, i did like it a little better than jack…but it still had a faint hint of that vinegar that i really didn’t like.
well…over the past few months, my tastes must have changed. either that, or maker’s needs to be mixed for me to find it palatable. that being said, i freaking love maker’s mark and ginger ale now. and tonight i tried my first old fashioned. absolutely wonderful.
for those who don’t know, the old fashioned cocktail dates back to the 1880’s, where it is said to have been developed at the Pendennis Club in louisville, kentucky. to purists, the old fashioned follows an extremely simple recipe, with few ingredients. technically, all you need for an old fashioned is a sugar cube, a few dashes of bitters, and some bourbon. however, the recipe has evolved into dozens of permutations that always include the aforementioned ingredients, along with citrus and, occasionally, a maraschino cherry.
often the fruit (usually an orange slice, or just the orange peel…but other citrus can be added) is muddled into the glass along with the sugar and bitters. the drink then might be garnished with more fruit, and some even top (or squirt onto the sugar cube) with soda water.
if you wanted to go all out, here’s what you’d do:
place a sugar cube at the bottom of a rocks glass, and saturate with bitters. three or so dashes usually does the trick. then, cut a half moon of orange in half and toss it into the glass, along with a maraschino cherry. use a pestle to muddle the ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved. here’s where it gets touchy - you can either add in two cubes of ice at a time (stirring for about twenty seconds between each installment) until the glass is completely filled, and then adding two ounces of bourbon…or you can just fill the whole glass with ice all at once, and then add the bourbon.
the most important step: stir the drink slowly. you don’t want to shake it, because the oils in the orange peel are pretty fragile, and you want to be able to taste it in the drink (don’t you?). not to mention, this drink is “built” in the glass you serve it in, meaning that there’s no transfer from a shaker tin to the glass, and you don’t want to break up the ice, because that will cause it to melt too fast, watering your drink down before you even sip it.
at this point you can add soda water if you like it fizzy, and then twist a big strip of lemon peel or orange peel over the top of the drink, and stick it down into the side of the glass. then, garnish with a slice of orange and another cherry (usually skewered on a toothpick).
now, i didn’t have cherries…or lemon. but i did have an orange. so here’s what i did: sugar and angostura bitters in the bottom of the glass. half moon of and orange slice, cut in half. muddle it, peel and all. add ice to the top of the glass, add bourbon, stir. i then topped it with another quarter moon of orange. and i am currently drinking it.
this drink is strong, and it lets you know that right off the bat. it’s not super super sweet, and the whiskey is definitely the star player…but all that being said, it’s so delicious. if you like feeling like you’re a businessman from the 50s or 60s, or if you just really like bourbon, this drink is definitely for you. and if you feel like this is an “old guy’s” drink, it’s not. it’s a classic, meaning that it’s stood up to the test of time. and while it may not be the most oft ordered cocktail at T.G.I. McFunnster’s, it’s definitely worth a try.
[don draper’s favorite cocktail, btw]