Recently after months of self promise, I’ve started watching ‘mad men’ .A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper. The early 60’s seemed like a very stylish time to live in, a time when every man had a shiny side parting greased up by using brylcreem (a hairstyle I have attempted to emulate since watching episode 1) and wouldn’t be seen without either a drink or cigarette in their hand.
I don’t smoke, as sexy as it’s made to look in this insanely elegant series I still don’t want to, but I do wish we all drank like them.
At the time of writing I am only up to episode 8 of season 1 but already I’ve witnessed Don Draper and co drink Scotch, bourbon, campari, vodka and gin. The first two in particular by the bucket load. Most of the time it’s in the luxury of their Manhattan high rise office where they consume their tonic. Although that’s not the part I desire us all to follow saying that though apparently @twitter #HQ any employees that drive themselves to do overtime gain access to the company mini bar, and if the selection of drinks on offer reflects the size of the company there should be some real treats inside.
Arguably due to the rise of silly ‘shooters’ on the back bar these days but I believe its rare that people enjoy a spirit by sipping it slowly in a rocks glass, the way most premium spirits are made to be appreciated. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Kentucky and meet the master distillers of Jim beam and buffalo trace bourbon. When explaining the production of their drams I have asked both ‘what do you think of people adding coke to you’re bourbon?’ both men replied, “It will make the best bourbon and coke!”
So you should enjoy your favourite spirit anyway you enjoy it best or ask your bartender for recommendations. The following cocktail is how I like to enjoy drinking bourbon. This cocktail is a universal test of a bartender along with the martini and probably the mojito. The old fashioned both my favourite cocktail to make and drink.
‘The cocktails creation is credited to a bartender called Martin Cuneo at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He is said to have made the drink for a Kentucky Colonel (and bourbon distiller) named James E. Pepper sometime between 1889 and 1895.’
My attraction is that you’ll be stretched to get the exact same recipe and method in any 2 bars, as there are many variations to it. In the past I have made a maple syrup and cigar infused old fashioned, that was a fun day.
My old-fashioned recipe and method is;
50ml Woodford reserve or Buffalo trace
1-½ bar spoons of brown sugar
3 splashes of angostura bitters
1 wedge of orange
In a mixing glass mix the sugar, bitters and tiny bit of bourbon to make a paste. Add 2 cubes of ice and about 15ml of bourbon stirring slowly for good dilution, I repeat this 3 times. Place a giant cube of ice in a rocks glass and strain the drink over the ice, finish off with an orange wedge, this is great for aroma and appearance.