If you are not a stranger to this column then you know my preferences for making cocktails at home. I like them easy to make with simple ingredients. Simplicity is good. Another thing I enjoy are the classics. They do not go out of fashion, or in this case consumption, and are always balanced and satisfying.
At the same time, it’s fun to find riffs on the classics that align with the above but also provide a little more variety. Fall and early Winter season is a great time to give the classics a bit of a twist.
The three drink recipes included are sure to please. They work well when the Football game is on, for seasonal entertainment, and of course are quick to make. The result is you won’t feel like an overly busy bartender just trying to survive.
Give these a try this weekend, and happy sipping!
Thought to have originated sometime in the early 1900’s, the Boulevardier is like a Negroni for the Autumn season, replacing the gin with bourbon. The resulting drink is both bitter, sweet, and boozy, and the orange ties it all together. You must give this one a try if you love a Negroni.
1 ounce Bourbon
1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
1 orange peel for garnish
In a cocktail mixing glass, combine the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari over plenty of ice. Now, I’m going to get a little weird – stir this 30 times, or at least 30 seconds. This ensures proper dilution to mellow out the final product, make it smoother, more balanced and rounded. Strain into an old-fashioned cocktail glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with the orange peel, twisting over the glass. Sip slowly – these sneak up on you!
Call it by its name or just call it a ‘Pres’, this drink is Kentucky mule meets Dark ‘n Stormy meets whiskey highball. It’s lighter in flavor, less sweet, but ticks all the boxes on a great fall cocktail. A good quality ginger ale, bourbon or rye whiskey, and a squeeze of orange instead of lime or lemon, brings it into the season.
1.5 ounces Bourbon or Rye whiskey
2 ounces good quality ginger ale
2 ounces club soda
2-3 dashes angostura bitters
1 orange wedge
Build the drink right in a highball or Collins’s glass with a couple large rocks of ice. Add bourbon, ginger ale, club soda, and bitters over ice, squeeze the orange, and stir to combine. That’s it. The Pres is easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
Campfire Old Fashioned
This version of the classic old fashioned adds a smoky element from peated Scotch whiskey to bring out those burning leaves and campfire notes. Peated scotch gets its name from the dried, earthy clay, called peat, which is used to dry the malted barley used to make the spirit. A little goes a long way.
1.5 ounces Bourbon whiskey
.5 ounces peated Single Malt Scotch such as Laphroaig 10 year
5 ounces simple syrup
2-3 dashes Orange Angostura bitters
1 orange peel
Luxardo Cherry for garnish
In a cocktail mixing glass, combine the bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters over ice. You really want to dilute the drink to balance out the flavors. Stir over ice for about 30 seconds constantly. Strain into an old-fashioned cocktail glass over a large cube of ice. Garnish with the orange peel, twisting over the glass, and the cherry.