When you order an Old Fashioned in Texas, your bartender will probably ask you what kind of whiskey you'd like. When you order in Wisconsin, they'll probably ask your brandy preference. But more and more establishments are embracing the true nature of an Old Fashioned, even creating entire menu sections of only Old Fashioneds.
By craft definition, an Old Fashioned has 3 components, sugar (or sweetener), bitters, and spirit, and is served over ice.
Consider these 3 very different old fashioned recipes.
The first fantastically made Old Fashioned I had in Dallas used Redemption Rye. Muddle a single peel from an orange and a lemon with .25 ounces of simple syrup (1:1 ratio water and sugar) in an already chilled pint glass. Add 2 ounces rye and fill glass with ice. Stir. Strain over large cube in double rocks glass. Torch lemon peel, making sure to rub expressed oils around the rim of the glass and down the side. A keen bartender's trick is to incorporate those bright citrus notes where they'll influence your guest the most, next to their face and body. The heat from your guest's hand will warm those oils and release a delightful fragrance so even when they aren't tasting, they're tasting. To snag this delightful classic see the boys at Tate's Dallas on a Wednesday when most whiskeys served neat, on the rocks, or as an Old Fashioned, are half priced.
Now, if you're in Wisconsin be prepared for a completely different cocktail, viscosity, flavor, and presentation. Jono Marcus, South Central Sales Director for Copper & Kings American Brandy knows what it takes to make a proper brandy Old Fashioned. He advises: in your cocktail glass, muddle an orange slice (avoiding the pith), a maraschino cherry, 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, and a sugar cube. Fill the glass with ice (crushed or pebbled is preferred). Add 2 ounces Copper and Kings American Craft Brandy. (Sidenote: Copper & Kings Butchertown Reserve Cask Brandy stands up quite nicely in this rich cocktail, but at 124 proof it's not for the faint of heart!) Add splash of Sprite or Squirt and garnish with maraschino cherry. For the Old Fashioned fashion-forward, check out the newly released Copper & Kings Cocktail Cherries with the stem on.
And last, but definitely not least. Consider this Old Fashioned made with The Botanist Gin. In a mixing glass add 2 ounces gin, .5 ounce Kleiner Feigling, a few dashes of grapefruit tincture, and stir. Just a few revelations will do; strain over large cube in double rocks glass. Garnish with fresh basil (or herb of choice) and a few dashes of hibiscus tincture.
Just like all cocktails, regional and personal tastes influence what is considered an ideally balanced beverage. What's your favorite way to make an Old Fashioned?
Summer is the ultimate time to use fresh citrus and all those herbs and berries you've harvested from your garden. Romantic red raspberries and bold basil levitate this lemonade into the perfect front stoop sipper.
You'll need tools:
knife & cutting board
fine strainer (optional)
You'll need booze & fruit:
1.5 oz gin
1 oz St~Germain
3-4 basil leaves
Betty recommends New Amsterdam gin because of it's light, playful, citrus notes. Find your favorite collins glass and stick it in the freezer while you prepare this cocktail.
In shaker, softly muddle 3-4 raspberries & 2-3 leaves basil. Squeeze half lemon into shaker tin (use caution to remove the seeds first). Add your spirits (Gin & St~Germain). Shake. Strain over fresh ice in chilled collins glass. Betty loves a little pulp in her cocktail, but for those more refined a fine strain is recommended.
Garnish with raspberry and expressed basil leaf (give the basil a little pat to allow the fragrance to be emitted). Place straw directly next to garnish. Find good friend; repeat cocktail instructions; escort said friend with cocktail to sunny stoop; enjoy life.
Few things get me more excited than a nice chewy gingerbread treat - and this cookie does just that! A carefully calculated substitution of ginger-honey infused bourbon for the required liquids in this recipe, yields soft, booze infused ginger cookies. Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur spiked home-made whipped cream is the perfect compliment to these bourbon baked goodies. Simply whip equal parts Domaine's de Canton, honey syrup, and fresh cream until unassisted peaks form. If you're feeling exceptionally frisky, top these desserts with finely brittled ginger sugar for a textural component that is sure to delight your guests.
If anyone knows the scenic view Cole Park provides for lazy Saturday afternoon activities, it's Susie O. Always a delight, this bubbly-loving socialite invited me to a picnic laden with chilled cava, cozy blankets, mini-cheesecakes, and other decadent treats. Strawberries and cava go together like picnics and puppies so I combined the two (that would be the fruit and cava, not the park and canines) in a gelee treat - complete with peach bellini foam!
A Betty (by a broad definition) is honest and brave, loyal and nurturing, witty and fun. She's balanced, quirky, open-minded, complex, and flawed. She's soulful and driven. And I think there's a little Betty in all of us.