Monday, November 11, 2013

Call Me Old-Fashioned

It was said to have originated in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1881, the concoction of a bartender at the gentlemen-only Pendennis Club. When I visited that bourbon-soaked city last year—the area is home to the likes of Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Bulleit and Woodford Reserve, among others—the old-fashioned was the drink I ordered at the St. Charles Exchange (below left), the Pendennis still being a private club, though it now has "a handful of female members."*

Sitting down at the bar, I knew my answer when the bartender asked what he could get me. When ordering the signature bourbon cocktail in a bourbon-centric town, I should have been ready for the his next question, which was to ask which bourbon I'd prefer. Being somewhat unprepared (not to mention fairly uninformed), I asked what he'd recommend to a non-native interested in something local.

His choice, interestingly, was Old Forester, which was also recommended by the driver assigned to show me the area, who said he prefers it to many higher-priced bourbons. I was happy to find it at our local liquor store for well under $20, and it's since become one of our favorites for Old-Fashioneds and Manhattans.


Adapted from Kenneth McCoy's version in the New York Times.

Dash of Regans’ orange bitters
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of simple syrup (see below)
1 tsp. of brandied cherry juice (we use syrup from Amarena cherries)
2 oz. of your favorite whiskey (see above)
Orange peel

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over three or four ice cubes. Garnish with a thick twist of orange peel.

Dave's Simple Syrup

Half Demerara or brown sugar with half water—stirred until mixed thoroughly—no heat.

* From Wikipedia.

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