Out of all the cocktails I made for the [when-will-she-stop-talking-about-it] engagement party back in February, this was my favorite — in both designing and imbibing. It was the perfect excuse for me to try out some new-to-me, somewhat-artisnal cocktail products — Sonoma Syrup Co. No. 28 Classic Grenadine Syrup and Tillen Farms Maraschino Cherries — that I’d been eyeing at the grocery store for a while. Plus, the respective products hail from northern California and Washington state, as do the groom- and bride-to-be, making their use especially appropriate for the occassion.
I’ve taken a fair amount of liberties with the classic Old Fashioned to make it somewhat more modern and, frankly, palatable (credit for the name goes to my mother-in-law, Shelley). When available, I prefer using blood oranges to navels for a handful of reasons: they lend a touch more bitter flavor to the drink (supplementing the Angostura bitters and Cointreau rather nicely), and the drink’s raspberry hue is an appreciated deviation from the more common, blasé brown.
With the last stretch of winter upon us — and Mad Men’s return less than two weeks away (!) — I cannot think of a much better time than now to mix up one (or a pitcher) of these cocktails.
Not-Your-Grandfather’s Old Fashioned
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail
- 2 ounces (57 grams) Bulleit bourbon (or other, gluten-free bourbon)
- 1/2 ounce (14 grams) freshly squeezed blood orange or navel orange juice
- 1/2 ounce (14 grams) Sonoma Syrup Co. No. 28 Classic Grenadine Syrup¹
- 1 – 2 teaspoons (5 – 10 grams) maraschino cherry juice (from the cherry jar), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) Cointreau
- 3 drops Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- 1 Tillen Farms maraschino cherry, stemmed
- 2 ounces (57 grams) sparkling water
- 1 Tillen Farms maraschino cherry, with stem attached
- 1/2 slice blood orange
Combine bourbon through bitters in a cocktail shaker (or mason jar) with lots of ice, shake vigorously until cold; set aside. In a double old fashioned glass (mine is 12 ounces, leaves lots of room for ice), gently smoosh stemmed cherry (not to a pulp, just one good smash/smoosh). Add a handful of ice cubes to glass. Strain chilled cocktail mixture into glass. Top with sparkling water; stir gently. Garnish with orange slice and cherry with stem. Serve immediately.
¹ I selected the grenadine (not pomegranate simple syrup) by Sonoma Syrup Co. because it contains 45% pomegranate juice, unlike the usual, syrupy sweet variety. (Cough, Rose’s, which is fabulous when used for frozen boozy desserts — such as the Summertime Granita — as sweetness is dulled when items are frozen.) Another good option if you cannot locate my preferred brand is this one by Stirrings — it’s less sweet, so you may want increase cherry juice by 1 teaspoon.