So, when we covered the Old Fashioned some weeks ago there were a few variations that we didn’t end up trying. There were various reasons that they got glossed over, but none the less I felt there was a hole in our investigations. Bourbon Week to the rescue! Revisiting Bourbon gave us a perfect chance to mix up these overlooked variations and give you the real low down. To start we have the perennial restaurant Old Fashioned…
The Muddle Fruit Old Fashioned
2 oz Bourbon 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters 1 tsp Sugar Orange Slice 2 Maraschino Cherries (the fake ones)
1) Combine fruit, sugar and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass 2) Muddle until sugar is dissolved 3) Add ice 4) Add Bourbon 5) Stir until well chilled
I have to say, I was a bit frightened about this one when I started mixing it up. As the orange started to break down and the cherries turned to red pulp I had visions of nastiness dance through my head. That didn’t turn out to be the case though, at least not entirely. The muddled orange added a bit of extra sweetness and a nice orange flavor which was not objectionable. The cherries on the other hand added nearly nothing except for a slight hint of almond and were not pleasant to encounter when sipping. Overall the drink was fairly pleasant though and although the muddled fruit isn’t strictly traditional I wouldn’t turn one down were I served it. Were I to make these again, which I must admit I’m not likely to, the classic is just a better cocktail, I would omit the cherries and possibly sub in a fresh raspberry or blackberry if they were on hand. I think these would add more flavor and color to finished cocktail.
The next Old Fashioned variant we tried was a bit more on the experimental side, The Bacon Old Fashioned…
The Bacon Old Fashioned
2 oz Bacon Infused Bourbon 1/4 oz Maple Syrup 3 Dashed Angostura Bitters Orange Twist
1) Combine all ingredients over ice 2) Stir until thoroughly chilled 3) Strain in to an Old Fashioned glass with ice
We got our inspiration for this cocktail from this article and the associated YouTube video. My first attempt at infusing the Bourbon I used woefully underflavored bacon drippings and the result was a Bourbon with no bacon flavor at all. Not to be out smarted by bacon I went to the store and picked up a pound of hickory smoked bacon. Seemed like the route to take so home I went and rendered up about a 1/3 of the package. Once rendered the warm drippings were applied to the Bourbon and allowed to steep overnight. I tossed the jar in the freezer in the morning and skimmed off the fat when I got home that night. This time the infusion took, but was still lacking the bacon flavor I was after. Aaron felt the Bacon Bourbon was quite good, but lacked the real smokiness he was looking for. I agree, but I didn’t give this first batch even as much credit as Aaron did, it needs serious work. The lads at PDT use Benton’s Bacon which is heavily smoked and as such has a very deep smoky flavor. I think if we could find a bacon here in CO that matched that level of smokiness that this cocktail would be a completely different animal. After Aaron’s sampling of my Bacon Bourbon he has taken it as a personal mission to recreate the Benton’s Bourbon flavor so I assure you this quest is not yet completed.
Also, I finished my Bacon Old Fashioned with a flamed orange twist as you can see in the picture above. Took a fair bit of creative camera work to get that shot and I think it turned out fairly well. You could really taste the carmelized orange oils in the final cocktail which was a great addition to the flavor profile. I’d highly suggest giving this a try the next time you make an Old Fashioned.