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.
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.
We have been thinking about uses for our bacon-infused bourbon since we made it. The first thing that came to mind was, of course, the old fashioned cocktail, but we wanted to make it a little more interesting. Chocolate bitters to the rescue!
Bacon Bourbon Old Fashioned 1 Sugar cube 3 dashes Chocolate bitters 2 oz. Bacon-infused bourbon Orange twist
Place sugar cube in the bottom of a lowball glass. Douse with bitters, add a little water if desired, and muddle the bitters into the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add bourbon and orange twist.
If you love bacon, this is the old fashioned for you. The first flavor to hit your palate is the smooth chocolate while with the orange scent reaches your nose. The bacon flavor comes on strong after that. It is honestly too much bacon flavor for us, but we know there are bacon fans out there who will love this cocktail.
There’s no better way to start Valentine’s Day week than by kicking it off with a cocktail called Courting Rachel. (We promise this will not be a Valentine’s Day-themed week, though.) Created by Andrew Bohrer and first featured in Saveur, this cocktail has a number of aspects that drew us to it. We always love variations on the old fashioned. The fact that rye simple syrup and smoke is involved are just cherries on top. We don’t have a smoke machine, so we had to come up with some other way to infuse smoke flavors into our cocktail. We decided using a flaming orange peel was the best option. We’ve done it before in the boulevard cocktail and liked the effect it had on the drink. Here’s a video of how to flame an orange peel.
Courting Rachel (Smoked Old Fashioned) 2 oz. bourbon ¼ oz. rye simple syrup Peychaud’s bitters
Make rye simple syrup with 1 cup rye and 1 cup sugar. Heat over a low flame until the sugar dissolves.
Combine bourbon, rye simple syrup, and bitters in a lowball glass over ice and stir until mixed. Garnish with a flaming orange peel and coat the inside of the glass with the orange peel.
The courting Rachel is a wonderful adaptation of an old fashioned. While we’re still curious about what this cocktail would taste like if we were able to infuse actual smoke into the drink, the orange peel and rye simple syrup added more than a hint of smokiness to the flavor. It’s also so easy to make that we’re sure it’s going to break into our regular cocktail rotation.
Every so often we come across a spirit or cocktail that seems so strange that we absolutely have to try it. The beer fashioned from The Kitchy Kitchen is one of those cocktails. It’s an old fashioned, but with beer. We can never get used to beer cocktails for some reason. Our curiosity got the best of us though, and we’re glad it did.
Beer Fashioned 1 oz. bourbon 2 oz. wheat-style ale 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters 1 tsp. brown sugar Orange twist
In an old fashioned glass, add brown sugar, then a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Add the bourbon, then muddle until the sugar dissolves. Put an ice cube or ball in the glass, then add the beer. Squeeze the orange twist over the mixture and wipe the inside of the glass with the twist.
We were pleasantly surprised by how good this cocktail is. We used Ommegang Witte, a Belgian-style wheat ale that, on its own was very light and flavorful, with a slight orange note. In the cocktail, the bitters, bourbon, and sugar add a little deeper complexity to the beer while highlighting the orange. The carbonation of the ale also makes the beer fashioned similar to a bourbon and soda. We highly recommend this cocktail. Experimenting with different beers gives the beer fashioned infinite possibilities.