Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kicking back the Old Fashioned way.

A classic cocktail is one of life's simple joys. The ritual of making it, the pleasure of drinking it, the fun in sharing it - all of these things add up to create a perfect little gem of an experience.

My current go-to cocktail is an Old Fashioned.  Nothing could be simpler, really: you muddle some citrus with a bit of sugar and some bitters and top the whole thing off with ice and booze (either rye or bourbon).  It's not for those who prefer their spirits masked by cloying fruit juice or syrupy soda.  This is a cocktail for boozehounds.

Since the booze is front and center in this drink, it's important that you use a high-quality whiskey.  My favorites for an Old Fashioned are Tuthilltown's Manhattan Rye (a worthy splurge) and Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon. My favorite oranges to use are actually Honeybells, a kind of tangelo.  If you can't find those, I recommend a clementine in lieu of the orange slice; its juice is a wee bit more delicate than the slightly more sour Navel orange.

Queenie's Old Fashioned

2 dashes bitters (I like Regan's Orange here, but Angostura work, too)
1 tsp. turbinado sugar
1 lemon wedge
1 generous slice of Honeybell, or one clementine cut into four wedges
2 1/2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey

Add the bitters, sugar, lemon and orange to an old fashioned glass. Muddle together until the juice has come out of the fruit and formed a paste with the bitters and sugar. Add three or four ice cubes, then top with the whiskey. Stir once or twice. Serve cold.

Serves one.

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