Friday, January 14, 2011

not exactly vintage...

my love of vintage led me to start this blog and i generally only cover topics related to that, but i have another love and i'm going to share a bit about that here!

now, i know it's not exactly vintage, but i will at least try to provide some kind of history to go along with the recipes, so maybe that counts?

last week i shared with you how i've been in a frontier kind of mood lately and what could be more at home in the frontier than whiskey? especially a bourbon branded a 'frontier whiskey'?

one of my favorite whiskey's lately is bulleit bourbon. i was given my first bottle as a birthday gift a few years ago and discovered that i really enjoyed it's unique flavor. i did a little reading on bulleit and it seems that in 1830 augustus bulleit, a tavern keeper in louisville, set about to create a bourbon with a unique flavor profile. after finding the flavor he was looking for he began to sell the bourbon and as he was on a trip transporting barrels of it to new orleans, augustus bulleit disappeared. to this day it is not known what happened to him, but in 1987 his great-great grandson decided to revive the family legacy and began crafting small batch bourbon.

now, unlike most of the frontiersman of the old west, i usually don't drink my whiskey neat (aka straight up), unless i'm trying it for the first time. my preferred drink is an old fashioned. i find that most people aren't familiar with the old fashioned so i thought i would share the recipe i have developed over the last few years. it's a two part recipe, as i make my own cocktail cherries, rather than using those awful bottled maraschino cherries that most bars use. i'll share the basic recipe for the cherries, and then the drink recipe.

danae's cocktail cherries

1 pound cherries pitted and washed (i prefer sour cherries, but whichever you like best will work)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 vanilla beans, scored down the middle then cut into 1 inch sections
1 cup bourbon (i use a lower end bourbon like jim beam, the flavor isn't really affected)

in a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar, and vanilla beans. bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium.

add the cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

remove from heat and add bourbon (if you want the cherries to have the bourbon flavor, but less alcohol content add the bourbon for the last two minutes of simmering the cherries).

let cool. transfer cherries and liquid into clean jars. refrigerate uncovered until cherries are cool to the touch. cover tightly and keep refrigerated. some say to only keep them for 2 weeks, but i've found they keep much longer due to the preservation properties of the sugar and alcohol. i'll let you be the judge.

danae's old fashioned

1 demerara sugar cube or 1 tsp. raw sugar (all the vintage old fashioned recipes i've seen call for a regular sugar cube, but i prefer the flavor of raw sugar over refined).
1 orange segment, unpeeled or 1 long twist of orange zest
3 dashes bitters (i use original angostura bitters, but mostly because i can't afford the fancier bitters i've seen on the market lately. someday i want to try making my own!)
soda water
bourbon of choice
cocktail cherries

place sugar, orange slice and bitters in an old fashioned glass. muddle together until sugar dissolves.

add enough soda water to fill the glass half full. for a truly vintage take on soda water, use a soda siphon. i love mine (though i use a new one, my vintage one is for display only)- it makes great soda water and you never run out!

add ice until the glass is nearly full.

top with bourbon to taste and garnish with cocktail cherries (i like to use lots!).

ta-dah! you've made yourself an old fashioned! i hope you enjoy it. do you have a favorite bourbon recipe? i'd love to try it!

isn't this vintage swizzle stick with the mini whistle on it cute? 

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