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It would be difficult to find any reputable watering hole that did not include the Old Fashioned in its arsenal. Ripped straight out of Wikipedia, The first use of the name "Old Fashioned" for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail was said to have been at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. Not surprising as Kentucky is very well known for their whiskey making. What you may not be aware of, is the state’s limestone deposit has been credited for their booming bourbon industry.
It was an inconspicuous afternoon out at Pittsburgh’s Industry Public House a few summers ago. To the benefit of my liver, I had actually not begun enjoying whiskey regularly until I had left college. Having just embarked on my love affair with whiskey, I was encouraged to try their signature Smokestack drink. The cocktail experience was a memorable one. It took many years until I finally decided to watch a few YouTube vids, gather the necessary equipment, and begin crafting my own version of this drink at home.
1/2 tsp maple syrup
2 oz whiskey
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
2 dashes Orange Bitters
1 dash Smoke Bitters
Wood Smoking Chips
1 large ice cube or ice sphere
1 rocks glass
1 pint glass or cocktail shaker
1 cocktail strainer for smoking the wood
A kitchen torch
1 cocktail strainer
1 mesh strainer
Large ice cube / ice sphere mold
In a rocks glass pour in the maple syrup, whiskey, and bitters. Stir to mix the ingredients.
Affix a cocktail strainer to the rocks glass and add a generous amount of applewood on the top of the strainer.
Using a kitchen torch, ignite the wood and continue burning for 20 to 40 seconds.
Once the flame is high, and smoke has begun accumulating in the glass, turn off the torch and extinguish the fire by covering with a pint glass or cocktail shaker.
Leave the pint glass or cocktail shaker on the rocks glass for one or two minutes so the smoke can infuse into the drink.
Dispose of or (optional) empty the wood chips into the pint glass or cocktail shaker.
Add your ice to the glass/shaker and pour your smoked infused beverage in to cool.
Add a single large ice cube or ice sphere to your rocks glass.
Affix the cocktail strainer to the glass and pour through a mesh strainer over top of the ice cube.
Squeeze the orange rind oils into the Old Fashioned and use to garnish the drink.
The beauty of this recipe is that slight alterations can create a similar, yet unique cocktail experience from drink to drink. Just start with any whiskey, add something sweet, a combination of different bitters, smoked with your choice of wood, a spritz of any citrus rind, and complete with a garnish of your choosing.
As mentioned in the caption at the top of the page, when using Rye Whiskey I prefer to make an American version of the Old Fashioned. This can be achieved by muddling cherries and an orange slice in with the maple syrup and bitters, prior to adding your whiskey.
While labor intensive, these cocktails are sure to please and be a memorable experience. Be sure to tag our Instagram if you make one yourself!