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No more excuses for not producing high-quality, well-crafted content for our readers, most of the time…
Put in a hard day’s work and ready to unwind with a cocktail? Let’s add another skill to your quiver and learn how to make the perfect old fashioned.
Distilleries Are on the Rise
One of the newer trends that are taken hold these past several years is craft cocktails. Here in the Twin Cities, we’ve witnessed the opening of over a half dozen distilleries. It’s no longer exclusively a craft beer scene.
We’ve got homemade bourbon, gin, vodka, and rum to boot. There are even a few speak-easy-themed establishments, complete with hidden alley doors and no advertising. All I can say is this: thank goodness for Lyft and Uber.
For those who are keen on keeping their balance sheets from exploding, like me, we need to avoid the urge to splurge on those mixologist-made cocktails. If you’re not careful, you could wind up with a big hole in your pocket.
Craft cocktails run about $10 to $15 wherever they’re served around town. And there aren’t many happy hour specials to help trim that down.
Using our favorite compounding calculator, we figure that four cocktails a week will run about $50 (tax and tip) for two people. If you keep that up over 10 years (instead of socking that money away into S&P500 index funds), you’d be giving up $35,480. Holy $hit! And that’s not even including Lyft and Uber fares.
How to Make the Perfect Old Fashioned!
We start with the whiskey. Based on a little research Cubert the mix-man did over the last few weeks, the top contenders came out to be Buffalo Trace, Templeton Rye, and Henry McKenna. My preference among the three came out to be Buffalo Trace. It’s slightly sweeter and less harsh that the Rye. The McKenna came in a close second, but is hard-core 100 proof!
Step 1: Get Your Finest Lowball Glass
(Thick Glass Insulates and Keeps the Ice from Melting too Fast!)
Step 2: Add One Sugar Cube (or Maple Syrup!), Add a 3 or 4 Healthy Dashes of Bitters
(You can take a shortcut and swap the cube for a tablespoon of simple syrup or even *gasp* maple syrup! Maple syrup does not overpower the bourbon whatsoever. I jokingly refer to this recipe variation as the “Old Canadian” or “Maple Fashioned”.)
Note: Having tested both Angostura (the classic choice) and Dashfire Bitters’ Old Fashioned blend, I prefer the latter. Plus, who can argue with the fancy glass eye dropper it comes with, for perfect dosages?
Step 3: Muddle the Bitter-soaked Sugar Cube, Add 2 Oz. of Bourbon*
*(Buffalo Trace or Larceny are mighty fine choices. Bulleit and Maker’s Mark will do in a pinch!)
Make sure to dissolve as much of that sugar as possible. It’s okay to leave a very small amount of the sugar undissolved. It’ll eventually get there… And besides, you’re wanting to sip that bad boy by now!
Step 4: Add a (Singular) Ice Cube
(One big cube keeps the cocktail cool enough for the duration of your sipping. A bunch of small cubes will just dissolve and dilute the beverage. Boo!!)
Ice cubes separate the wannabe old-fashioneds from the real-deal quality kind. We’re going for big and clear.
Papa Cubert lucked out this past Father’s Day and received a fancy-dancy ice cube mold it for big ice balls. NICE. There are so many options on the market today. All I can recommend is to do your homework! Some kits are easier than others for extracting cubes. Some make more clear ice than others, etc.
To be clear (a-hem), you don’t HAVE to have clear ice. But it sure as heck is fun to look at while you’re sipping away. The drawback of the fancy Peak ice mold is that it takes up some room in your freezer, and extracting the finished cube can be a bit of a chore. But those cubes are so pretty…
Step 5: Add a Little Slice of Lemon Peel – Twist It Before Adding
Voila! Enjoy Your Fancy Bourbon Cocktail. You Deserve It!
Impress your friends with this crafty, old-school delight. In the process, you can avoid dropping major coins for the same cocktail at your neighborhood speakeasy.
Disclaimer: Please drink responsibly! Yours truly is at a point where any more than one single cocktail is just too much if I want to get a good night’s sleep.
Cocktails have a lot of alcohol content, so go easy! Sip, and enjoy!
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