Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Hour at home: Old Fashioned

One of the drinks we learned to make in our Cocktails 101 class was the Old Fashioned. Rittenhouse Rye was the suggested spirit, but you can use any whiskey you like the taste of. Jack Daniels works fine. Southern Comfort has also been suggested.

Here's what you need:
  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (heat a cup of water, add a cup of sugar, stir to dissolve, store in the fridge.)
  • Three dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel (organic is best, for obvious reasons)
In a tall glass full of ice, add the whiskey and simple syrup:
Then carefully add three dashes of bitters and stir.
I say carefully because the bitters bottle has a little hole in the top to regulate the flow of liquid. When you tip a new bottle, it tends to spray the bitters across the counter instead of into the glass. Bright orange bitters that will stain your party frock or your housecoat.
As for stirring, you don't need to agitate the ice much, just spin the whole mass around in the glass a few times. This will cool down and blend the liquid. Then strain it into an Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice. Since you've already chilled your alcohol, the ice will be slower to melt and your drink will not get diluted as fast.
Now you're almost done! Just that last special touch:
Slice off a strip of orange zest and give it a snap over your drink to release the oils, then drop it in.

Et voilĂ ! A drink that could cost you $10 in a fancy bar (yes, I've paid that much) for mere pennies.
Not that I plan to stop drinking in fancy bars, but it's nice to have the option of staying in to enjoy a fine cocktail (and no one has to be the designated driver). Great for parties, too!


  1. That is a tidy cocktail, but lacking the decadence of the one I grew up with and am more likely to be served in a bar which requires a muddler.

    Place half thin slice fresh juicy orange with rind (good call on the organic!) & one Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherry (Make your own, recipe below), add simple syrup or 1 tsp sugar. I prefer my simple syrup made with a touch of brown or made with the evaporated can sugar - KB knows the brand. Muddle fruit together until it's quite mushy.

    Proceed as above. I prefer Maker's Mark.

    I can sit for quite some time just inhaling the fumes, er, fragrances, from this lovely cocktail, which is a good thing because one is absolutely enough. Switch to wine with dinner. ;)

    While a time consuming to make, I thoroughly enjoyed working in a upscale bar that served many of these, simply for the olfactory joy. And we made our own cherries.

    Maraschino Cherries:
    1 lb sweet eating cherries stems & pits (not pie cherries)
    Wash and place into a jar or container that has a secure lid.
    Add Luxardo Maraschino liqueur to cover by a half inch when cherries are pressed down. 3 cups?
    Secure the lid and refrigerate. Stir every 3-4 days. Don't snack on them. At two weeks they are ready to begin use. As my mother would say, these make great hostess gifts. :) Just place in a small mason jar and wrap with a bit of raffia.