The Old Fashioned Cocktail

As many of you know I have a fascination with cocktails and sometimes devote a post to them.  Well we’ve had a few snow days here in Baltimore and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend them then making my favorite cocktail.  The good folks at Arctic Chill sent my way a stainless steel muddler, the perfect companion to any bar!  So I thought I’d whip it out and use it to make my favorite cocktail, The Old Fashioned._MG_5584

Before I get to the cocktail, a few notes on the muddler.  I have previously been used to my old wooden muddler.  This was useful, got the job done, but I found that it retained flavors and easily stained.  Not ideal for making the perfect cocktail.  I don’t want anything that can transfer flavors other than what I choose to have in the drink.  This muddler is stainless steal with a grooved nylon head, perfect, no unwanted flavors!   And, to my surprise much lighter than what I was expecting, but not light enough as to feel cheap.  Its well made and I loved it.   Onto the cocktail….

First step is to gather all the ingredients.  Here is what you will need:

-Bourbon (I use Knob Creek, my favorite)

-Angostura Bitters

-1-2 teaspoons raw sugar

-fresh orange

-Arctic Chill Muddler

-cocktail shaker and strainer

-ice cubes

My recipe differs a bit from the traditional Old Fashioned in that I start in my cocktail shaker rather than build the drink directly in the serving glass.  I think there is more control this way.

-add your raw sugar to the shaker with 3-4 dashes of bitters and a very tiny bit of water (just enough to wet the sugar).

-with your Arctic Chill muddler begin muddling the sugar and bitters until you get a syrup devoid of large grains of sugar*

-add 2 shots of Knob Creek Bourbon and stir to lightly mix with a bar spoon

-add ice to fill and stir until sides of shaker are frosted and cold.  Aside from making the cocktail cold this dilutes the bourbon a bit.

– place one large ice cube into a tumbler and strain your cocktail into the glass

-Take your orange and with a small knife cut off a large chunk of the zest.  Be sure to trim any remaining pith as this is quite bitter.  Gently squeeze (skin side down) over your cocktail.  By doing this you are expelling the essential oils.  After you’ve done this once or twice (depending on how fresh your orange is) rub the skin around the rim of the glass.  You want to be able to really taste those oils.  Add the zest to the glass

-Served best with friends

*some like to add orange zest to this step and muddle.  I find that this works well but is less impressive than seeing those oils expel.  Also I think that the oils can be tasted more if you wait.  They are in nearly every sip.