This is the first in a new series that I hope to keep going each and every Friday. See, getting up at 5AM every day has its perks. No more excuses for not producing high quality, well-crafted content for our Abandon-Nation readers! Assuming you’re reading this on the sunset side of the day, grab your highball glass and muddler. Let’s make a perfect old fashioned cocktail, shall we?
Distilleries on the Rise
One of the newer trends that’s 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’s even a few speakeasy themed establishments, complete with hidden alley doors and no advertising. All I can say is this: thank goodness for Lyft and Uber.
For those whom 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 the course of 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.
Trace* is 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 highball glass (because you can’t make a proper old fashioned in just any old glass!)
Step 2: Add one sugar cube (or better yet, a teaspoon of homemade simple syrup) and add a few droppers of quality bitters:
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: Smash up the sugar cube with a muddler, and add 2 to 2.5 ounces of your bourbon of choice (Buffalo Trace being mine)
Make sure to dissolve as much of that sugar as possible. It’s okay to leave a very small amount of it undissolved. It’ll eventually get there… And besides, you’re wanting to sip that bad boy by now!
Step 4: The ice cube cometh!
Ice cubes separate the wannabe cocktails from the real-deal quality kind. We’re going for big and clear. A large cube will prevent the cocktail from becoming diluted too soon, and it keeps the liquor at the right temperature as you slowly enjoy.
Pretty sweet, huh? Papa Cubert lucked out this past Father’s Day and received a Peak Clear Ice Mold:
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 drawbacks 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…
Alternatively, you can find many basic rubber molds for way cheaper. I have a couple of Death Star ice cube molds that are my go-to’s.
Step 5: Add a little slice of citrus peel. I personally prefer an orange peel, but you can also use lemon.
Voila! The Perfect Old Fashioned
Impress your friends with this crafty, old-school delight. In the process, you can avoid dropping major coin for the same cocktail at your neighborhood speakeasy.
Disclaimer: Please drink responsibly! Yours truly is at a point where anymore 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!
*4/8/18 Update: Buffalo Trace has become so popular (at least here in the Twin Cities) that I’ve had to actually reserve a bottle from our local liquor store. See, I have pretty good taste after all!