I’ve always liked a good cocktail, but something about living in London has alerted me to the fact that I don’t really know enough about the art of making them as I’d like to. As a kind of educational project, I’m planning to make a new cocktail every week, and work my way through as many classic recipes as possible. I hope to learn a lot over the course of the year about spirits, techniques, and equipment, including but not limited to how to make perfectly clear ice cubes.
As a starting point, I’m using this list at Serious Eats. I don’t intend to do it in the same order, or necessarily cover all of the cocktails on the list, but I like it as a reference point. I’m going to start with a true classic, the original cocktail – just spirit, sugar, water, and bitters.
Most Old-Fashioned recipes call for you to muddle a sugar cube with a dash of water and bitters, and then add the whisky on top. Some call for the fruit to be muddled as well, but I thought I’d keep it straightforward this time. I didn’t happen to have sugar cubes, but I had just whipped up a batch of simple syrup and was eager to use it, so I went for that instead. Unfortunately I sloshed it a bit too forcefully and ended up with an overly sweet first round, but I dialed it back successfully for the second go and got the balance right. I feel sort of like a grandfather drinking it, but a cool one.
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 tsp water
- 1.5 fl oz bourbon
- Orange slice, maraschino cherry
Mix sugar, water and bitters together. Add ice, then bourbon, and garnish with the orange and cherry.