A Spirit, Sugar, Water, and Bitters

This week I have been concentrating on the Old Fashioned, varying which bourbon I use, which bitters, which garnish, and the balance of sugar and water. I should, however, stop saving this last cherry for the next Rob Roy. The drinks are very different, just by varying the bourbon.

the ingredients

Tuthilltown Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, at 46% ABV and made entirely of New York corn, is very smooth, and obviously corn. There’s a sweetness to it that’s not unlike fresh grilled corn on the cob. Given one word to use, I would characterize this whiskey as simple.

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Whiskey — 45% ABV and made from Kentucky and Indiana corn, rye, and malted barley — is more complicated. I’m not quite sure how to describe it.

For each, I’ve used Gilway Demerara sugar cubes, picked up at my local grocer. The grocer also stocks Domino sugar cubes, but I usually prefer the taste of demerara or turbinado sugar. The cube was soaked with two to three dashes of either Angostura Orange Bitters or Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Careful with the dashes from the aromatic bitters bottle; the hole is larger than that on the orange bitters. The recipe as given previously calls for the aromatic bitters, which have a complex flavor and smell a bit like nutmeg. The orange bitters smell like fresh orange peel. Either pairs nicely with the slice of orange used as garnish. The orange bitters will obviously enhance the orangeness of the drink. Water sufficient to barely top the sugar cube was added, and then the sugar muddled until thoroughly dissolved.

Ice was added, then the chosen bourbon, and the glass garnished with a slice of orange.

One must test the results. Both bitters work well with both bourbons, but I prefer the orange bitters with the Hudson Baby Bourbon, and the aromatic with Buffalo Trace.

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