Alta Vista Old Fashioned

Call me old fashioned!

It’s Mixology Monday time again and, as usual, I can’t wait for the deadline to experiment with the theme. This month we were challenged by Laura of Sass & Gin to come up with a newfangled Old Fashioned:

The Old Fashioned is the original “cock tail,” dating to the early 1800′s. In this humble bartender’s opinion, it is the pater familias of all other drinks, and it has taken its place as such in the recent cocktail revival. We have seen many variations of the Old Fashioned (i.e. Mayahuel’s Oaxaca Old Fashioned, PDT’s Benton’s Old Fashioned) and the resurgence of similar cocktails (i.e. the Sazerac). The bitters market has exploded over the last decade, with more flavor profiles than ever before, and with a more health-conscious public, your local grocery store is likely to carry a selection of sugars to play with (agave, coconut sugar, turbinado, etc). So, here’s the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I’m challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!

I had previously made a blood orange old fashioned and since it is still blood orange season, my thoughts drifted that way again. But things took a bit of an odd turn when I found finger limes in a produce store today. These small, not terribly attractive fruits, when cut in two and squeezed, produce tiny pearls (juice vesicles) that pack a big tart citrus wallop when you bite into them. So I decided to add a bit of lime juice and to throw in the pearls for good measure. So basically this is a riff on a Canadian old fashioned, which uses Canadian whisky, a triple sec and lemon juice.

So here we go:

  • Sugar cube
  • Dillon’s Bitter Lemon bitters
  • Blood orange slice
  • Maraschino cherry
  • 2 oz Canadian whisky
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Optional: finger lime pearls

In a chilled old fashioned glass, soak the sugar cube in the bitters and muddle with the blood orange slice and maraschino cherry.  Fill glass with ice cubes and add the whisky, Cointreau, lime juice and finger lime pearls if using. Stir well.

Note that the finger lime pearls will sink to the bottom; when you encounter one, bite it to release its flavour.

The round-up of old fashioneds!

Mixology Monday

Sass & Gin

Mixology Monday challenge: Pennywort cocktail

2 oz pennywort drink
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz simple syrup

I felt I had to take part in this week’s Mixology Monday challenge because “the Unknown” is really my favourite approach to cocktails, and my favourite way to indulge this is to grab some hitherto undiscovered (by me at least) taste in an ethnic grocery store. Some of my luckier discoveries using this method have been calamansi juice and peanut punch.

I have to admit, I chickened out of making a cocktail with the swallow nest beverage I bought at the local Asian market, when I realized it was not a euphemism. Maybe next time. Luckily I had bought some other new-to-me tastes, including this pennywort drink.

I won’t lie: this is not my best cocktail. Or even second best. Or third. Or top 200. Pennywort is clearly an acquired taste. It’s sort of like old grass clippings with a little spinach water thrown in. However, my mom would have said “waste not, want not”. I cut it with some Cointreau and lime and a touch of simple syrup. It does have an exotic taste. And the colour could very well pass for golden, in the dark with a strong light behind it.

 Here is a round-up of all the “unknown” cocktails in this month’s MXMO


Mango Blush Daiquiri


This seems like a very long winter, and it’s not over yet! A sunny cocktail is required.

2 1/2 oz Ataulfo mango purée (mangos should be nicely ripe. Whirr in food processor and press through a sieve)
2 oz white rum
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz vanilla syrup
2 drops Peychaud’s bitters

Shake well over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add two more drops of Peychaud’s on top.

Three Citrus Elderflower Martini


Today I started a batch of homemade tonic syrup, which seems to be all the rage these days. The recipe called for the zest of three lemons, three limes and two oranges. Naturally I had to juice those sad naked fruits and use the juices in a cocktail. I used two English ingredients to round it out since G&Ts were on my mind (alas, the tonic needs to steep for 72 hours before I will know if the experiment is a success!)

1 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz gin
1/2 oz elderflower liqueur

Shake well and fine strain into chilled cocktail glass.