In which I post the first of my experiments with a winter cocktail, all in the name of my monthly missions (#32).
In my search for a favorite winter seasonal cocktail, an idea that seems to have slipped into history, what better drink to start out with than an Old Fashioned? The hubs and I have made these a few times now, a few different ways, and it is the front-runner so far. This sweet and strong drink is perfect for cocktail hour before dinner, but doesn’t transition well to pair with food.
While there are lots of recipes out there telling you how you should make it — and now that we bought sugar cubes, we’re free to try them all out — we’ve already begun cheating a bit. In my opinion, part of auditioning cocktails is messing around with them until you get a workable variation that you don’t have to think too much about. Measuring out the liquor? Not after the first time or two, because who wants to hand-wash the shot glass? Muddling bitters and a sugar cube, then attempting to coat the glass with what’s left? Too time consuming. Muddling the sugar and fruit? Not in this kitchen, in large part because we don’t have a muddler. Also, in part, because we don’t mind the taste of liquor, so why try to cover it up? (Apparently the entire garnishing practice was born out of Prohibition, when boozers swilled all sorts of disgusting concoctions for lack of a better tasting option. Luckily, we don’t have that problem any more.)
So, here’s our cheater’s version of the Old Fashioned:
Put ice in a small glass or tumbler. Add 3-5 dashes of bitters over the ice, then 2-3 fingers of whiskey (smaller glasses get more fingers). Drizzle in a bit of simple syrup and top with a splash of club soda, if you have room in the glass. Garnish with a squished maraschino cherry, and if you’re feeling extra fancy, a wedge from a clementine orange too.