Welcome to the second post chronicling my attempt to create cocktail basics. Click here for background, but the general gist is that 2015 will be my year to bone up on cocktail basics. As much as I love to invent and play around in the kitchen (and bar), it’s probably smarter to know the rules before deciding how–or even if–to break them.
Another promise of this post was to find a sipper to accompany Great-aunt Helen’s date bread. I was touched by the number of you who wanted to know more about this amazing woman, whose recipe boxes I am finally starting to peruse.Last week found me making the first of what I hope will be many recipes in these boxes: Date Coffee Bread. The name says it all–coffee is the obvious accompaniment. But we’re talking spirits here; I immediately thought of sherry. Much like many women of her generation, Great-aunt Helen loved sherry. I’ve long been a fan of this fortified sweet wine myself and even have a few of Helen’s sherry glasses in my collection.
But because I’m also trying to work on my cocktail skills, I flipped through the recipe packet handed out in the recently attended Cocktail 101 class. An earlier post’s Gin & Tonic didn’t seem right for a fragrant and warm quick bread. The Old-Fashioned, on the other hand, fit the bill: sweet, strong, soothing yet bracing.The bourbon-soaked cherries had been found at the store where I took the class and after buying a blood orange–another wow ingredient in this version of a classic cocktail–I was ready to mix.
Bourbon Old-Fashioned on the Rocks
In lowball glass, combine 2 cocktail cherries, 1 orange wedge, and 1 or 2 sugar cubes. Saturate sugar cubes with a few dashes of bitters. Muddle just until ingredients are slightly crushed. (You should still be able to identify the fruits and sugar.) Add a few ice cubes and 2-3 ounces high-quality bourbon. Transfer the mixture to a clean shaker; shake with some force, but only for a short time. Return contents to lowball glass. Add another ice cube or two if needed. Garnish with another cherry.
To make the bread, I give you Great-aunt Helen’s original recipe:And combing the two gives us a lovely food-and-cocktail combo.Next week we’ll see what else we can find in Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box and I hope to have a few stories about Helen as well. It’s an honor to share her legacy here. Thank you for reading.