Sunday, September 28, 2008

A New "Old Fashioned" Idea... at least to me

While I was out at the Seven Grand (one of the best whiskey bars around) Friday night I went for my usual order. "Woodford Old Fashioned please." The bartender (one I had never been served by) shot right back at me "why Woodford?" I explained that I don't know a whole lot about bourbon, and certainly haven't liked it but for maybe a year now, and Woodford is one of the handful I've tried and liked the best. He then respectfully recommended that I try a rye bourbon in the Old Fashioned instead because the spiciness of the rye and the slight increase in proof would contrast the sweetness from the sugar, orange, and bitters more than adding in just a regular bourbon (that has its own sweetness to it also). Because I will take any recommendation any of these top notch bartenders make I told him I'd go for it. Long story short, it was amazing. The rye (Sazerac Rye, Buffalo Trace Distillery) really did seem to add just a bit more bite that I really liked. So I urge to try your Old Fashioned with a rye whiskey. And if you've never had an Old Fashioned, do your best to find a place or bartender that makes a quality one, a lot of people make some junk with muddled up maraschino cherries, oranges slices, and nary a splash of bitters- yuck.

And just in case you're wondering how I think a good Old Fashioned is made, here is my recipe that I've pretty much taken from The Seven Grand by watching how they make it.

1. Peel two thin *Valencia* orange rind strips, about 3-4 inches long and 1 inch wide. Try to get only the oily orange layer and not any of the white fuzz/pulp below it. Valencia is highly preferred due to their better aromatic properties of the rind.
2. Put orange rinds in an old fashioned glass and add 1-2 teaspoons of simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water mix is ok, but 1.5:1 is preferred).
3. Add about 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters (depending on how spicy you like it, feel free to add a couple more... I usually do).
4. Muddle the orange rinds, sugar, and bitters lightly so that the orange oils are released into solution.
5. Add about 1.5-2 oz of Bourbon (Maker's Mark at the least is preferred), and then add cubed ice (enough so that the ice is above the top of the liquid too).
6. The aroma should be an amazing blend of spices (from the bitters), orange aromatics, and bourbon. But for a little extra aromatic kick, take a very small piece of orange rind and wipe the rim of the glass all the way around so there are some orange oils left on it.

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