Cocktail Culture: The Old Fashioned
March 12, 2020 • Beverages,
Nearly two years ago, I spent a magical week touring the bourbon country of Kentucky. As our group of friends traveled from distillery to distillery, touring rickhouse after rickhouse, I willed myself to like bourbon, but I left the trip still unable to even taste a sip of the silky brown liquor without cringing and turning up my nose. Then a new man came into my life.He likes bourbon just like my friends, and as we spent time chatting early in our dating, I enjoyed the smell of bourbon – in his glass, on his breath – and I started taking tiny sips. It took a few months, and I continued to cringe for awhile, but then I suddenly tasted one – Breckenridge Reserve – and I didn’t make a face. The next time we went out for a drink, he ordered an Old Fashioned and I tasted it and wow! I had finally found a taste for bourbon. But here’s the catch: straight bourbon drunk neat is hot and burns and I don’t enjoy it. Mixed in a cocktail, it’s mellow, sophisticated, and I enjoy sipping on it slowly until it’s gone and I nibble the booze soaked cherry. So this is my recipe, after tinkering around a bit. Adjust as you like!
- 2 long sections of orange peel (zest only, no pith)
- 2 dark cocktail cherries
- 2 large ice balls or cubes
- 3-4 ounces of bourbon (I use 2 ounces per drink)
- 2 teaspoons agave syrup
- 3-4 dashes of orange bitters
- 1-2 teaspoons orange juice (optional)
- cherry syrup, to taste (optional)
- handful of ice cubes
- Rub the rim of two lowball glasses with the orange peel then put the peel in the glasses. Add a cocktail cherry and an ice cube to each glass.
- Combine the bourbon, agave, and bitters in a cocktail shaker. If you want your drink slightly sweeter, add the orange juice or cherry syrup from the cocktail cherries, or both. Add ice cubes, cover tightly, and shake well.
- Pour drinks over the two ice cubes and enjoy!