an old-fashioned cocktail

wpid-old-fashioned.jpgWelcome 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.wpid-recipe-boxes-and-sherry.jpg.jpegwpid-recipe-boxes-and-sherry_01.jpg.jpegLast 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.

wpid-date-bread-and-sherry.jpg.jpegGreat-aunt Helen’s Coffee Date Bread would work well with sherry.

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.wpid-old-fashioned-ingredients.jpg.jpegThe 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:wpid-2015-01-27-16.54.17.jpg.jpegAnd combing the two gives us a lovely food-and-cocktail combo.wpid-date-bread-and-old-fashioned.jpg.jpegNext 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.

42 thoughts on “an old-fashioned cocktail

    • It’s not for everyone as it can be strong. I always have to go the 2 sugar cube route to make it sweeter. Thanks for coming round, Nancy πŸ™‚ Love that the Old-Fashioned reminds you of your dad. Perfect.

    • Glad to have you along, Angie πŸ™‚ I need to look more closely at your Fiesta as well. So many amazing blogs out there. Need more hours in the day πŸ™‚ Or at least another Old-Fashioned, haha.

  1. You had me at cocktail. I’ll be following along and this shall be my first attempt at following… tomorrow. I need to go to the store. I don’t have cherries just lying around! :p
    Great one, Liz!

  2. We get to see Helen’s penmanship and everything. I agree that G&T seems a bit off to pair with date bread. G&T is what one drinks at a rave with staircases with metal banisters. No, that is not a great metaphor. A G&T is a slick contemporary chair, and an old-fashioned is a cushiony, slip-covered recliner. With cherries. As we rarely stray from wine or rum or beer or hard cider, our liquor cabinet is quite bare. We will hire you to come make us drinks like Isaac on “The Love Boat.” Except you are prettier and will also bring us date bread.

    I also have never had sherry. I thought it was just to cook with until I read a series of Jan Karon books, where the priest drinks sherry at times. And Cheer Wine, a beverage in the Carolinas, of which I had also not tried until I found a bottle last year.

    • Are you saying you once drank a G&T at a rave with staircases and metal banisters? I like your chair metaphors very much. You can hire me for free and I will happily make you drinks. I would like to be Vicky as she was perky and cute, but then there is the matter of her being underage so probably shouldn’t be mixing drinks. But I am not underage. Sure, I will bring date bread, too.

      Tell me more about Cheer Wine. Sherry is lovely. Not unlike moscato in sweetness, though it is heavier.

      • No, I was already grown when raves started. It was just the first image that came to mind. Cheer Wine is just a soda, but the name is very misleading! It was in those books I was reading. I found a bottle in a store full of “sodas across the nation.” It was sort of like Cherry Coke.

  3. My father would drink an old-fashioned pre-dinner sometimes, Liz. Not that he was old-fashioned, at all. No, Frank fancied himself as somewhat of a hipster in his 20s and 30s, and when I turned legal drinking age — my 18 to my dad’s 38 — he made sure that I tried some of his hipster cocktails besides my wahoo teenboy beer when I returned on break from coillege. I can still imagine the old-fashioned. OK. Tolerable. Not as good to me as the whiskey sour, though. Neither of them made me do the old ptoey, though. That was Scotch. Thanks for returning to the cocktails series this week. Pairing it WITH Great-aunt Helen’s date bread was a touch of genius. πŸ™‚

    • Seems the Old-Fashioned is a father’s drink. Your dad sounds like a good man. Hipsters are cool. Whiskey sours are much easier drinking than the Old-Fashioned.

      Dare I ask what the “old ptoey” is?

      Appreciate your kind words, Mark. Glad to have a plan for food for fun–should be easier to plan posts.

      • My dad was cooler when he was younger. And older. Rough middle ground for he and I. He passed when he was 66 and I was 46 … 11 years ago, the day after my birthday, in fact.

        The “old ptoey” is as it sounds. When you surprisingly hate the taste of something so immediately that you involuntarily reject it as quickly as you took it in. If that’s too distasteful for your lovely food for fun blog, feel free to edit. That’s why I came up the the “old ptoey,” Liz.

        I’m glad the blog is getting easier for you. You deserve a bit of that in your life, my friend.

        • no editing necessary–I like the old ptoey. So you hate Scotch then? Scotch is not that different from bourbon or any other kind of whiskey. Is it?

          Funny how we have different relationships with our fathers at different ages. Lots of rebellion for most in the teen years, I’d think. We’re lucky if we have our dads long enough to grow out of the rough patches. Mine liked the whiskey highball, but he doesn’t drink anymore as it interferes with his meds. 😦

          Didn’t mean to infer that my blog has been hard to write. It’s just sometimes a stretch to find a topic. But now I know what I need to write about πŸ™‚ How do you pick your topics? I know you have certain days for music and movies, but you also sometimes post multiple times a day. Do you post whenever the spirit moves you to do so?

          • Scotch and bourbon don’t taste at all alike to me. I like bourbon, mixed with ginger ale (diet) in particular. Scotch, I won’t even sniff again, ever.

            My troubles with my father were in my older teen years, and then when my parents divorced, when I was away at college, for just a while. Then we mended as I matured.

            I post multiple times, yes, when the spirit moves me, when I spot something or think of something that I know will be a fun and interesting photo and read for those out there in WP world and/or Syracuse. What’s interesting to me, Liz, is how that has developed into two completely separate entities, really, with just a little bit of mingle in the middle.

  4. Oh, Sherry. I wish I could still drink Sherry. I sipped on 100-year-old and 150-year-old Sherry at a very special occasion many years ago. Before that night, I had not known something could taste so amazing. They let me keep the empty bottles. πŸ™‚

    On a separate note, what does the B.P. stand for in your great aunt’s recipe? Clearly, I don’t bake enough to grasp it immediately.

    • I detect an ’80s tune πŸ™‚ Holy cow–those mega-aged sherries must have been amazing. Tell me more!

      B.P. = baking powder
      Am sure you could run circles around me with lingo for your business.

      • Yes, I went for a little “Journey” there didn’t I. . .

        The Sherry’s were like drinking liquid amber. Warm, no burn, slightly sweet and very memorable. And the smell. Oh, the smell. Smooth, a little bit “woody”, and it made cooking sherry smell like vinegar in comparison.

        I use the bottles to decorate for special occasions. They are painted in gold leaf.

    • I especially love how old-school cocktails–like the Old-Fashioned–are coming back in favor. It’s a bracing drink! Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  5. I have a cool Great Aunt Helen as well! The cocktail looks great, as does the date bread. I am all for cocktail and food combos. I am so looking forward to all your drink adventures this year!

    • That’s awesome, Gretchen, that you have an Aunt Helen, too. We gave my youngest her middle name–fun to carry it on. Cocktail-and-food combos, yes–sounds like a party to me πŸ™‚ Appreciate you coming along for the ride.

  6. I so wish I had some high quality (or even medium quality) bourbon on hand – I would so make one of these right now!!
    My grandmother was fond of sherry as well – she would always have a glass while the rest of us were enjoying fancy cocktails. πŸ™‚

    • Hey, HD. Somehow I lost track of a slew of comments–sorry! Always love to chat with you here. Sherry has been an old-lady drink, though I’ve also seen it on trend lists. Those old ladies were ahead of their time πŸ˜€ Would imagine you have bourbon somewhere on those lovely shelves of yours!

    • Thank you, Sophie. It’s delish, yes.

      Off topic, am so excited to share that I got a Vita-Mix!!!!!! I really did it–took the plunge and paid the money and now I have one. Will be visiting your space a lot for ideas πŸ™‚ Have so far made a smoothie and two sorbets. Looking forward to using the soup feature, too.

  7. Pingback: guacamole, ’70s style | food for fun

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