An Old Fashioned

I recently purchased The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique and have been pouring over it (ha) for techniques and the science behind making a great drink. This prompted me to start making some cocktails for my lazy boyfriend and I the night after a long and fantastic Halloween eve. 

I have been interested in cocktails for a long time. My parents, were wine drinkers but had people over a lot and had a stocked bar. I always have looked at these bottles as a means for fun and experimentation. I think food and drink combines my love of art and science in addition to hedonism. 

A focus point for my first old fashioned was the ice. When I was in chemistry and leading chemistry classes I had a fondness for H2O and its life giving and fascinating properties. For example, water is made up Hydrogen and Oxygen. Both elements on their own (are diatomic and must exist with a partner molecule i.e. H2 or O2 but this is a tangent) are highly explosive gases at room temperature. Now take water, which is the combination of these explosive elements and it smoothers flames. This is common that compounds behave very differently than the elements they are composed of. 

Additionally water has a high polarity, crudely meaning that the electrons on each end of the molecule are fighting to pull the electrical charge there way and the poor oxygen is sitting in the middle of this. This high polarity allows for substances to be easily dissolved within H2O and is a main solvent within living organisms and our environment. 

Now onto water as a solid. ICE. Ice in cocktails is meant to dilute the ingredients and cool their temperature. As the book states it is very important to have good ice from good water. This does make a difference and I found out by conducting a poorly documented experiment involving triple filtered water and water from my fridge. 

I used to work at Starbucks and know this water is triple filtered. I remember it tasting great and if I am around one with an empty water bottle I don't hesitate to get some of that awesome water. I froze a grande ice cup of water and then proceded to break it up. This produced clear clear clear ice chunks of which I made an Old Fashioned. After this drink had been imbibed I made the same concoction with ice from my fridge. It definitely did not look as nice and I believe it did not taste as good. More experiments to come!

Here is my recipe after looking through online recipes and looking in my kitchen for what was available:

  • 3oz bourbon
  • 1.5 tsp 1:1 simple syrup
  • orange zest spritzed around the edge of the glass
  • pure pure ass water --> ice

That's it! One thing I discovered last night, is that a true cocktail does not have that much liquid in it. About 90mL doesn't even half fill my tiny Old Fashioned glass. The ice does the rest. 

I have so much fun playing and experimenting with food and drink. Though this was a poorly executed experiment I learned some cool stuff. Good ice matters, less impurities make a better looking and tasting drink. And good cocktails really are not that much in volume. 

That's all for now folks.