I told Jessi that I think her spirit animal is a grandmother. I mean that in an endearing way because her grandma Nancy was the best. Recently, Jessi’s favorite drink has been a cocktail from yesteryear: the Old Fashioned.
I’m not thrilled about the Old Fashioned mixes you get at the liquor store, mostly because you never really know what they put in them. So I decided to make my own.
The Traditional Old Fashioned
A traditional Old Fashioned involves putting some granulated sugar in a glass with some bitters such as Angostura. Add a cherry and a slice of citrus fruit (orange/lemon), and muddle it in the glass. Add whiskey or brandy and a splash of water or club soda.
When I make an old fashioned like this, I use Korbel Brandy. Their brandy is aged in oak barrels, which gives it a whiskey-like flavor I think plays great with this drink. It’s also great in Egg Nog 🙂 Otherwise I like to use Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye Whiskey.
Homemade Rock & Rye
When I do my own, I follow this Bottled Rock & Rye recipe. I do a couple of things differently from this recipe that I thought are worth mentioning.
I used Old Overholt straight rye whiskey to test this recipe, and it wasn’t bad so I’m sticking with it. If you can find it at Total Wine, it’s less than $15.
To find horehound, you can look at a brewing supply store. I go to Magus Books & Herbs by the U of M – if only for the experience. You don’t have to be studying Wiccan to go into this store, but it also wouldn’t hurt. They have every herb you can think of, sometimes in both regular and organic varieties. It’s a great resource if you want to brew real root beer from sassafras.
The recipe calls for 3oz. of sugar by weight. When I stop at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store I get a couple of rock candy sticks to really put the “Rock” in Rock and Rye. I rarely have a full 3 ounces of rock candy, so I add real maple syrup, or just granulated sugar if I’m out of syrup. I put the rock candy in the final container (a decanter) with a little bit of the whiskey because otherwise the crystals will get filtered out.
The rest of the whiskey goes with the sliced fruit & herbs in a steeping container per the recipe. When I fish out the orange and lemon slices, I don’t throw them away. I put them in a tupperware box and into the freezer. Then when I’m making Old Fashioneds, I add a slice of each of these booze-infused fruit slices to the drink. I filter the fruit and herb infused booze on its way to into the decanter, otherwise you’ll wind up with tons of fruit pulp in there. Filtering is just for clarity and can be skipped otherwise.
Since Rock & Rye is sort of like an Old Fashioned in a bottle, so you don’t have to do any muddling. I do a shot of Rock & Rye, add some bitters, a cherry, some citrus slices from the brew, and club soda. If you like a sweeter drink, add some cherry juice and/or use sprite instead of club soda.