White Old Fashioned: Cherry Bourbon Cocktail

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My favorite Old Fashioned gets a twist, thanks to new contributor Jenni Horwath. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, go ahead and add a tablespoon of maple syrup. Either way, it’s a lovely way to transition into brown drinks just in time for cool-weather holidays. Happy Halloween! -Maggie

To brown liquor or not to brown liquor: that is the question. Don Draper has made brown liquor fashionable and, dare I say, sexy, but it still can be a scary venture for some. For me, the answer is simple, as I have a bit of a soft spot for bourbon.

For anyone looking to make the transition into brown liquor, this is where to begin. I say “transition” because brown liquor is in a flavor class all by itself, and if your palate is accustomed to beer, wine, or vodka … let’s just say that whiskey and bourbon can be a little strong.  The Old Fashioned is softened with sugar, fruit and soda water, which makes it a great starter cocktail.

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Once I became more familiar with the elements of the classic drink (rye whiskey, fruit, sugar, bitters, and club soda), I couldn’t help but play with them. The first departure is in the vermouth. Having experimented with White Manhattans (made with white whiskey and blanc vermouth) before, I set out to make a lighter version of the Old Fashioned, using this wonderful discovery, Dolin Blanc Vermouth. It is completely different from the the dry and sweet vermouth I’m used to; instead, it is soft and floral with hints of citrus. It tastes like apple blossoms and grapefruit, which I figured would be a great base for what I call a White Old Fashioned.

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Next I experimented with fruit combinations to compliment the blanc flavor. I adore pineapple, but sadly it seems confined to tropical drinks, so I figured I would give it an upgrade and muddle it in. It looks so beautiful floating in the drink, with the light and soft liquid colors contrasting with the rich, deep burgundy of the cherries. I chose Black Maple Hill, but any small batch bourbon or rye will do. For bitters, I used Basement Bitters, a small batch bitters out of New York, but I have since begun making my own bitters and will soon use those instead!

I’m going to give you the recipe for just one drink, because I always prefer to make these one by one, so that each is perfect. You’ll notice there’s no added sugar in this recipe (which is found in the classic old fashioned), but I’ve found that the fruit adds just enough sweetness.

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I have served these to both bourbon-lovers and the bourbon-weary and they’re all wooed by this smooth yet sassy iteration of a classic.  Feel free to experiment with your favorite fruits, as I have also tried nectarines, pears and figs depending on the season. Enjoy!

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Old Fashioned Cherry Bourbon Cocktail

Ingredients:

For the Bourbon-Soaked Cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Bourbon
For the Cocktail
  • 2 bourbon-soaked cherries
  • 4 chunks pineapple
  • 3 dashes bitters, like Basement Bitters
  • 1 ounce (Dolin Blanc) vermouth
  • 2 ounces bourbon, like Black Maple Hill
  • Sparkling water, to top

Directions:

Make the Bourbon-Soaked Cherries
  1. Add dried cherries to a jar and cover with enough bourbon to soak the cherries until they have absorbed all that they can absorb. The residual liquid is sweet and boozy and perfect to toss a dash right into the glass with the cherries.
Make the Cocktail
  1. In an old fashioned glass, muddle cherries, pineapple and bitters.
  2. Add ice, then vermouth and bourbon. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
  3. Top with sparkling water (I used San Pellegrino because I think the minerality of it adds a great balance to the sweetness of the drink, but any type of bubbly water will work. I have even topped it with ginger ale before) and stir again (very lightly this time to not lose any precious carbonation). Enjoy!
Photos styled and taken by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio.

Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic StudioFollow Maggie Battista on Instagram.

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