The word perfect is something I don’t bandy about too much, but this Old Fashioned Friday entry comes close. If you follow my Instagram you’ve seen that I was recently gifted a bottle of 18.21 Bitters “Havana & Hide” by a coworker. Each time I get a new bottle of bitters I taste it several times and think of what whiskey it would work best with. Havana & Hide are exactly what you would imagine them to be, tobacco, smoke, leather, and that perfect underlying earthy umami that I crave; some people like their Old Fashioned’s and cocktails sweet but I lean to the other side of the spectrum.
I almost chose Bookers “Oven Buster Batch” as the bourbon for this drink but these bitters are so smoky and savory I needed just a touch of sweetness to bring them back to earth; but the heavy vanilla of the Bookers just wouldn’t cut it. So I turned to Angel’s Envy Port Barrel Finish bourbon for it’s more demure chocolate and coffee notes. Here’s the recipe:
- 1.75 oz Angel’s Envy Port Wine Barrel Finished Bourbon
- 12 Drops 18.21 “Havana & Hide” Barrel Aged Bitters
- 1 White Sugar Cube
- .25 oz Water
Soak the sugar cube with the bitters and add the water in your rocks glass, swirl and muddle until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whiskey and stir. Drop in one large ice cube and give a couple extra stirs for good measure but don’t aim for maximum chill or dilution, no garnish.
It’s absolutely brilliant. You’re first hit with the chocolaty sweetness of the bourbon, followed by the thick tobacco flavour, as your sip begins to finish you’re hit with the spice of the whiskey and that delicious old leather taste. It coats your mouth, you can pull out each flavor individually, and is just sweet enough to not be overwhelming.
This Old Fashioned may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but truth be told I cannot think of a better one that I’ve ever had. What are you drinking tonight?