Skip to content

An Old Fashioned Compromise

January 24, 2014

Let it not be said that I am completely inflexible.

True story. Last week when I was meeting with the personal trainer, I asked her to show me some more exercises I could do to strengthen my core. It was great. I learned how to do the side plank and bicycle crunches. There was some third exercise that involved laying on my back and putting my legs straight up in the air. We never got through that last one, because after noticing my limited range of motion, she declared, “Your flexibility is atrocious.”

Perhaps the inflexibility of my opinions has taken a physical toll on my body. Maybe you remember my stance on the Old Fashioned cocktail? I sided with Rachel Maddow on this one. It’s really supposed to be sweetened and seasoned whiskey on ice. That’s it. Bitters. Sugar. Booze. Ice cube.

But still, the demand for muddled cherries and orange in this drink is deafening. So after a little bit of experimentation, I’m willing to meet halfway.

First, let’s start with the problems of the muddled fruit in the first place.
1) It’s a pain in the ass.
2) Most of the time the cherries are disgusting.
3) Muddled fruit makes for a muddy looking cocktail.
4) Did I mention that it was a pain in the ass?

The benefits of skipping the fruit entirely are that it gives you a silky cocktail that tastes like whiskey. But I understand that there are people who think cherries and orange are good complements to the spirit. And I can’t argue with that.

At home we regularly keep dried sour cherries on hand, as Mrs. Fussy likes to soak them in brandy and use them as a garnish to her favorite Manhattans. What we don’t regularly stock are organic oranges. But one day last month I found myself with a sack of them.

Tormented by this eternal question of Old Fashioneds, I wondered if instead of muddling the flavors together whether infusing would do the trick.

So I carefully cut wide strips of zest off the orange and shoved them into a glass bottle with some of the dried sour cherries. I drowned all that fruit in Evan Williams straight bourbon and then I waited. And I waited. And waited longer still.

Turns out it’s pretty good. And you can use it to make an Old Fashioned cocktail my way that tastes like one chock-a-block with fruit. Except mine is still silky and takes just seconds to pour from the bottle.

If you wanted to get all fancy, you could buy a gorgeous infusing vessel to do the trick. Or you could just use a mason jar. Suit yourself. But I’d recommend you start infusing flavors into serviceable bottles of booze. It’s a good time. And it beats the hell out of having all kinds of nasty bits in your beverage.

See? Totally flexible.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. enough already! permalink
    January 24, 2014 2:44 pm

    Can’t tell you how many inappropriately embellished old fashions I’ve been served. So I asked for a “classic” old fashioned, thinking the bartender (in a local place that I presumed would understand), and the server brought the usual fruity muddle to the table.
    I know, when you presume….. So next time I’ll have to be very specific. My choice is a twist of orange rind over the top. Cheers! And I’m glad someone else loves these classics.

  2. Doug permalink
    January 25, 2014 11:23 am

    My dad was a purist when it came to old fashioneds. The only muddling was the sugar cube and Angostura bitters. He insisted on the cherry and orange slice, but only as final garnish, so that the red and orange played off against the rich brown whiskey. If I’d been good, I might get to eat the orange and cherry when he finished his drink.

  3. Randy k permalink
    January 26, 2014 6:08 pm

    Infused bourbon sounds like a delightful twist!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: