Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mixology Monday, March 2015: Call Me Old Fashioned!

Welcome back to another round of the greatest cocktail party on the planet, Mixology Monday!!! *KtF Flail-Yaaaayyyyy* Life never ceases in its frustrations, but that's ok - nights like this are made for getting one's drink-fu on.

The no-nonsense and très skillful Laura of Sass & Gin (the more sass the better, is my feeling) hits us with as true a cocktail theme as they come: Call Me Old Fashioned!
The Old Fashioned is the original "cock tail," dating to the early 1800's. In this humble bartender's opinion, it is the pater familias of all other drinks, and it has taken its place as such in the recent cocktail revival. We have seen many variations of the Old Fashioned (i.e. Mayahuel's Oaxaca Old Fashioned, PDT's Benton's Old Fashioned) and the resurgence of similar cocktails (i.e. the Sazerac). The bitter's market has exploded over the last decade, with more flavor profiles than ever before, and with a more health-conscious public, your local grocery store is likely to carry a selection of sugars to play with (agave, coconut sugar, turbinado, etc).

So, here's the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I'm challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!

When active, click this link to see a bunch of old folks nursing rocks glasses out on the porch. (myself included)

This month's theme shocked me in a way: apparently I haven't done an official Old Fashioned recipe in ages (though I've done sub-impromptu OFs with whatever is on hand from time to time). I learned towards them in some of my earliest recipes, then had a quick spate of them about this time of year, 2013 -- all of which hold up during an otherwise mostly-miss period. Then nothing. Time to rectify that.

I had a fancy to maybe riff on Brian Miller's (of Death & Co.) 4-spirited The Conference, perhaps with white spirits, but I think that needs more time for refinement. There's also the spark of a Cinnamon Toast Old Fashioned with some tasty butter-washing - but that also takes time.

Nope. There's something about the Old Fashioned that is deeply hospitable while being distinctly à la minute: grab a spirit or two, pick one of the umpteen mini-bottles of syrup in the fridge and then a bitters or two from ye olde shoeboxe. Stir stir stir stir. Sploosh goes a hunk o' ice and garnish. So apt for interpreting the mood of a micro-moment.

And, what's capturing my attention tonight is the imminent failure of my laptop's hard drive - yes, I'm typing on said computer, at least until forced to switch to my phone (thank goodness for blog software that continuously saves). But, I started Feu de Vie on Iris and have spent countless hours into the wee morning blogging and reading away, so it only seems fair to end her with an appropriate blog post and toast, on St. Paddy's Day no less.

Iris, named after the Flash's Iris West and for her iridescent white Vaio casing. Sparkling and classy successor to the 6-month-mourned Compaq laptop Pookie. (What? You don't name your computers? Next thing you'll be telling me you don't name your knives, or bookcases..) Here's to you, milady, a parting glass. Thanks for the seven years of writerly freedom and daring, and for the grace to let me capture all my data in the end.

Iris' Requiem
1 oz Irish whiskey (Writer's Tears if you have if, otherwise good ol' Paddy)
1 oz gin (St. George Botanivore)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 dashes Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters
rinse Bénédictine
dried sakura blossoms for garnish

Rinse your glass with B.
Set in the freezer to chill.
Sugar. Bitters. Stir.

Spirits join the base mix.
One last coming together.
Ice to chill and weak.

Rock rest in the glass.
Strain over, see clarity.
Sakura perfumes.

Sweet ease from whiskey and sugar, delighting in rich blossoms and vanilla, undertoned in faint earthy herbal spice.

Looking for sakura blossoms? Check your favorite tea shop or dry goods store. Mine are from a sakura black tea blend.

Thanks to Laura for hosting a fine theme -- there's something quite fitting about such a seminal drink theme at the start of spring. Thanks also to Fred for keeping us all going month after month, with some knockout one-two punch themes lately! I can't wait to see what's next!