Mixology Monday: Variations

by Matt Robold on February 11, 2008

I had originally intended to a comparison of Mai Tai recipes – focusing on the Trader Vic’s vs. Don The Beachcomber versions for this month’s MXMO.  That never happened.  Instead I found myself with the house all to my lonesome on Saturday evening and the bottle of Mt. Gay XO called to me, begging me to write a review of it…and I yielded to its Siren Song.  It’s just as well, since I woke up the next morning to discover that Blair over at Trader Tiki’s had done his own Mai Tai post that was probably a thousand times more impressive than anything I could have done – and he posted it at least a full day before I would have posted mine.

Do not lament however, as I do have an entry for this month’s collection of imbibement-related-web-journalism, hosted by Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour.

I recently finished reading How’s Your Drink? by Eric Felten, which inspired me to branch out more from my rummy world of rummy goodness and get back to drinking all kinds of drinks – especially Old Fashioneds.  Not being a big whiskey drinker, the Old Fashioned seemed like a great drink to get in to as pretty much anywhere you go will have decent whiskey, sugar, bitters, and fruit.  I mean, it’s simple, easy, and everyone’s got that stuff (except, apparently, The District in Orange, CA).  You can’t usually say the same for rum, for which most bars leave me relegated to Captain and Coke.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been ordering Old Fashioneds just about everywhere we go, each time with a different whiskey.  And for those purists out there, sorry, but I like the garbage in my drink – and I prefer the Rye to the Bourbon.  The recipe here isn’t Mr. Felten’s…I loaned out my copy of his book, so I don’t have access to it at the moment.

Old Fashioned

2 oz Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
1 Sugar Cube
1 dash Bitters
1 slice Lemon
1 Cherry
1 slice Orange

Combine the sugar cube, bitters, and 1 tsp. water in an old-fashioned glass. Muddle well, add blended whiskey, and stir. Add a twist of lemon peel and ice cubes. Add slices of orange and lemon and top with the cherry

The concept of the Old Fashioned wasn’t new to me…drinking it with the prescribed Whiskey was though.  What I used to keep myself warm with was a variation of the old-timey cocktail made with – what else? – rum.  I don’t know if this is the “according to Hoyle” recipe for a Rum Old Fashioned, but this is the one I used Saturday night after completing my review.

Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Rum
1 tsp sugar or simple syrup
1 dash Bitters
1 Cherry
1 slice Orange
1 slice Lime

Combine the sugar/syrup, bitters, and rum in an Old Fashioned glass and mix well.  Add the cherry.  Add ice.  Add the orange, squeeze and add the lime.  Top with a splash of soda.  Clink, Drink, Repeat.

Since this cocktail is a variant of a whiskey cocktail, I recommend a whiskey-ish rum for the task.  On Saturday I went with Mount Gay Extra Old (which is excellent in this drink), but I have been known to make it with Matusalem Gran Reserva or Flor de Cana 18 Year Old.  Any of the 3 work really well (you could also use Appleton Estate V/X, Extra, or Reserve), although the Matusalem is probably my preferred base.

Cheers!

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