Friday, 12 October 2012

Fabulous Friday: Cocktail Hour

Literary Alcoholism

Aoife, Cambridge

I've learnt not to read any of the books in Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series without access to cold white wine but I hadn't realised just how bad my alcohol suggestibility had got until I read Curtis Sittenfeld's novel American Wife. The protagonist is based on Laura Bush and the story describes rich people drinking cocktails an awful lot of the time. These republicans sure do like their cocktails and old-fashioneds seem to be their absolute favourite. Now I've had a few old-fashioneds in my time but I'd never actually made one before. Well this book just wore me down. By the time I had got to the last page all I could think about was making and drinking an old-fashioned.

The internet just confused me (too many variations) and I didn't have the energy left to consult ALL of my cocktail books so I fell back on my favourite, Victoria Moore's How to Drink. When I first bought this book part of me was a bit skeptical, what can a book teach this cocktail-mad Irish girl about drinking I thought? In fact it's a wonderful book which I think you should all go and buy right now. Anyway, Victoria rescued me from my bourbon obsessed confusion, with straightforward, well explained instructions for making an old-fashioned. Obviously I made the lazy girls version (there is a limit to the amount of time I'm prepared to spend muddling). With apologies to the rich republicans here is my recipe for an old-fashioned.

old-fashioned (serves one)

1 teaspoon of brown sugar
3 drops of angustura bitters
1 teaspoon of water
piece of orange peel
good quality bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve)

In a heavy tumbler, mix together the brown sugar, bitters and a teaspoon of water. Add the orange peel and bash it around to release the aromatic oils. Add about 1cm of bourbon and make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Add a large quantity of ice and top of your glass with as much bourbon as you need (a lot usually). Garnish with your choice of orange or lemon slices or perhaps a cherry if you are feeling particularly jazzy. I combined the ice and garnish in one of the drinks by using one of my ice balls filled with orange slices.

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