We recently came across this post at Honestly Yum about making a Negroni-filled ice ball. This isn’t a brand new idea. We’d seen it somewhere on the Interwebs a year or two ago but failed to successfully place a cocktail inside the ice ball without either crushing or melting the ice. The post at Honestly Yum provided such great and detailed instructions that we were able to finally inject an old fashioned into the ice ball.
You don’t necessarily need an ice ball mod, but it’s helpful. This video shows how a few bartenders used water balloons to create their hollow ice balls. Basically, you need to make an ice ball, but before it completely freezes, poke a hole in the top (I used a chopstick to do so), and pour the water out from the center. Now you have a hollow ice ball. I put it back in the freezer for a few hours just to make sure it completely froze. Then make a cocktail and inject it into the hole you poured the water from. I made an old fashioned, but the best part is this works with pretty much any cocktail.
Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher write Spoon Fork Bacon, one of our favorite food blogs that always features delicious recipes and beautiful photographs. Their new book Cocktails for the Four Seasons is a pocket-sized book that matches the quality of their blog. As the title suggests, the book is broken into four sections based on the seasons and the ingredients usually available during those months. Before all the recipes though, are some helpful tips like which glasses to use for what drinks and why, suggestions for variations of simple syrups, and tips on making simple but elegant garnishes. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the number of cocktail recipes that include roasted fruit, such as the “Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeño Freezer.” You might imagine some of these drinks take quite a bit of preparation or require ingredients you wouldn’t normally have on hand. Those are really my only complaints about this book, but the recipes seem to be catered toward drinks you might serve at a dinner party—most recipes are calculated to make at least four drinks—so maybe you’d be shopping for special ingredients anyway. We’d be foolish not to make one of the bourbon drinks included in Cocktails for the Four Seasons, so we made their variation of the old fashioned.
Thyme Old Fashioned
2 oz. Bourbon
1½ oz. Thyme simple syrup*
1½ oz. Fresh orange juice
½ oz. Pomegranate juice
*Make the thyme simple syrup by heating a half cup sugar and half cup water with a few sprigs of fresh thyme until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool.
Mix the bourbon, thyme simple syrup, and orange juice in an old fashioned glass and stir. Add ice and top with pomegranate juice. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Admittedly, we hesitate to call this an old fashioned as we’re used to the classic whiskey, sugar (or simple syrup), and bitters old fashioned. But we knew just by looking at the ingredients this was going to be delicious. It’s dangerously tasty. It’s so smooth, but also has a slight tartness to it from the pomegranate. The thyme simple syrup does wonders for balancing all the other ingredients and leaves a freshness lingering after each sip.
Cocktails for the Four Seasons is available here for about $10.
Everyone knows ginger and bourbon are a match made in heaven. Ginger is delicious. Bourbon is obviously totally delicious. Put those two flavors together, and we can almost guarantee we’ll be willing to try pretty much anything you can throw at us. So when we saw these recipes for ginger syrup and a ginger old fashioned at Fresh & Foodie, it was only a matter of time before we made some ginger syrup for ourselves.
Ginger Old Fashioned
2 oz. Bourbon
¼ oz. Ginger syrup*
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash Whiskey barrel-aged bitters
½ cup Water
½ cup Sugar
1½ inch Ginger root
In a small pot, bring water and sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add ginger and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you want the ginger flavor.
In a mixing glass with ice, add bourbon, then ginger syrup, then bitters. Stir for approximately 30 seconds, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange peel.
This is a very good take on the old fashioned. While we prefer the muddled sugar cube method of making our old fashioned cocktails, we gladly altered our methods for the simple syrup, using the directions on Fresh & Foodie. The ginger flavor, unexpectedly, smoothed out the whiskey burn while leaving a subtle gingery finish. We’ll surely be making more cocktails with the ginger syrup in the near future.
(illustration by Markus Jansson)
Hello, everyone! We’re back! We’re getting settled into our West Coast home, which means we’re finally able to start writing about bourbon again. Words can’t really express how excited we are to get back to bourbon blogging. We decided to announce our return with an old fashioned. It’s a simple cocktail, but it’s always delicious once you’ve figured out exactly how you like your old fashioned. You know the drill: sugar, water, (or simple syrup), bourbon, orange, and a cherry (if that’s what you like).
Thank you to our readers who waited for us, and welcome to all of you new followers who jumped on board while we were on hiatus. It might take some time before we get back into a regular posting schedule, but we promise we’ll bring you bourbon reviews and cocktail recipes whenever possible.
We’re also pleased to announce our partnership with Bourbon Built, a company that makes wonderful prints, clothing, and accessories for bourbon lovers.
Sometimes we see recipes with directions that have just enough ambiguity to lead to minor disasters. While this isn’t usually a problem with cocktail recipes, we still got excited when we learned about the Cocktails Step-By-Step cookbook by Parragon Books. We love the photography and simple, clean, and organized photos.
The book includes recipes for a wide variety of cocktails using different types of liquor, including a cosmopolitan, Manhattan, caipirinha, and highland fling.
More info on the Cocktails Step-By-Step book can be found here.
Patrick has been making cocktails in a different way lately.
(Source: rogerwilkerson, via wildanimas)
One of the most important thing we’ve learned since we’ve been writing this blog is how to make an old fashioned. Once you’ve found the technique you most prefer for making an old fashioned, not only can you mix one up for yourself any time you like, but then a whole world of cocktail possibilities opens up. There are a ton of delicious cocktails that are slight variations of the old fashioned. We’ve made quite a few ourselves: the beer fashioned, the Courting Rachel, and, one of our favorites, the apple pie old fashioned. This time we’re making the vanilla bean old fashioned from Tasting Table.
Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned
2 oz. bourbon
1 Tbsp. vanilla bean sugar
3 dashes orange bitters
To make vanilla bean sugar, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 whole vanilla bean (pod and everything, cut into 1-inch pieces) in a food processor and pulse until the vanilla bean is completely ground and the sugar is a fine powder. The leftover sugar can be used as you would use normal sugar.
Many people like to make an old fashioned a certain way, so this part may vary a bit depending on your preferred mixing technique. Combine vanilla bean sugar, bitters, and a little bit of water in an old fashioned glass. Muddle until the sugar dissolves. Add a large ice cube or ice ball, then add bourbon. Squeeze an orange peel over the drink, wipe the inside of the glass with it, and drop into the bourbon.
This is a delicious variation of an old fashioned. The vanilla bean sugar makes it a little sweeter than normal and gives more complexity to the bourbon. We used Baker’s in our cocktail so the high proof spice would complement the vanilla texture and flavor.