The Old Fashioned with an Islay Twist
Ok, so don't hate me. I know that an Old Fashioned is traditionally made with Rye Whiskey. I know that a bar tender will sooner reach for a Makers Mark, Woodford Reserve or Bulleitt than think of an Islay Malt. All I ask is that you hear me out and give it a chance. I was recently in the Copper Dog in Craigellachie where the idea of using a Lagavulin in this classic cocktail was put to me by the barman. With a degree of skepticism, no doubt the same degree with which you are reading this, I agreed to give it a go. To say I'll never go back would be a lie, but where the choice is there I choose the smoky Scotch every time.
The prominent peaty smoke of the Lagavulin is tempered by a Demerara sugar cube and sharpened by a liberal helping of Angostura Bitters. The natural oils of the orange swath add citrus notes and a pricked Picota cherry to garnish adds the final touch to make this a truly delicious twist on this icon that I'm sure even Don Draper would approve of!
You will need: Rocks glass; Lagavulin 16; Demerara Sugar cube; Angostura Bitters; Orange; Picota cherry; Ice (make sure the cubes are large as this will slow down the rate of melting).
Step 1: Put the sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and add 3/4 dashes of Bitters to taste
Step 2: While the sugar soaks in the Bitters, use a knife and cut a swath of orange peel. Twist and squeeze the swath to release the natural oils. Coat the rim of the glass with the outside of the swath.
Step 3: Muddle the sugar cube with the Bitters in the bottom of the glass. Don't overdo it though: leave a little bit of texture. Drop in the orange swath and gently press it with the muddler to release the oils further. Do not break the swath while muddling.
Step 4: Add ice to about 3/4 of the way up the glass and 50ml of the Lagavulin 16. Stir with a bar spoon until it is clear that all the sugar has dissolved. The ice will naturally melt as you stir so careful not to overdo it or it will water the cocktail too much.
Step 5: Prick the cherry with a fork and add to glass.
There you have it: a delicious cocktail reinvented what was already a firm favourite. Enjoy!