Monday, August 9, 2010

Cocktails For One (Minus Cherries)

My buddy Adam drinks cocktails, and considers himself something of a merry mixologist. I drink things straight (like all manly men), and despise cocktails because, well, if you can't drink it straight, why drink it at all?

Adam is perhaps getting his first convert.

Last Friday, he helped me move a large bedframe to my house from someone else's house, because he has a truck and I don't. I bribed him with a bottle of (rī) 1, a rye whiskey with a nifty-looking bottle, and a cool, post-modern name. He let my wife and I have a sniff of it (and offered sips, but I didn't want him driving around with an open bottle of liquor in his truck that looked like he'd been nipping away at it), and I thought, "do want." So after he'd gone home, i went out and bought another bottle of it for me.

It's strong, 46 percent alcohol (92 proof), which is a little higher than I normally get with my single-malt scotch faves. It has a clean, peppery flavor that I don't find in most Bourbons I've had. It's also a tad fiery.

The issue I've always had with Rye whiskey is that it's always seemed like a cheap alternative to real scotch. America and it's propensity to create hard alcohol from any damn grain (or vegetable) that comes down the line. Not sure why no one makes and markets beet vodka. Or more accurately, beet rum. Also, one of the most prominent makers of rye whiskey is branded Old Overholt. This reminds me of the Old Harper whiskey brand that featured so prominently in American Graffiti, the kind of cheap booze that any high-schooler would buy because, well, it's cheap and it'll get you hammered, and/or laid. Admittedly, this relationship exists entirely in my own mind (which, frankly, should make anyone else very suspicious).

Anyway, after delivering the bed and receiving his bribe, Adam went home, and later sent me a text message saying that this was possibly the best Old Fashioned he'd ever had. He and I have similar tastes in films and books (thought not necessarily in music or food), and the Old Fashioned is such a simple drink that I'm now thinking perhaps I should give it a shot. (pardon the pun)

Add one sugar cube to a lowball glass, soak it with Angostura bitters, add a splash of soda (Adam says this is highly optional and he doesn't do it),  and mash it all up until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and throw in a brimming shot of rye. Add a twist of orange peel and two maraschino cherries. Adam twists the peel, but doesn't leave it in the glass, and he also forgoes the cherries (which I would as well - hate 'em). I'd leave the peel in, myself, to make sure the orange continues to flavor the drink. Deceptively simple, and probably habit-forming.

I'll let ya know...