Saturday, March 14, 2015

bellocq's old-fashioned cobbler

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XCV) was picked by Laura of the Sass and Gin blog. The theme she chose was "Call Me Old Fashioned!" which seemed like a great continuation of investigating the classics from February's Martini variation theme. Laura elaborated on the concept by describing, "The Old Fashioned is the original 'cock tail,' dating to the early 1800s. 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!"
For a starting point, I purchased a book that I had been meaning to order and read, namely Robert Simonson's The Old-Fashioned, and I hoped that it would arrive on time. Luckily, it did and I skipped the reading for later (I am in the midst of two other books at the moment) and went straight for the recipe section. There, I spotted an Old Fashioned that retained its Old Fashioned-ness despite changing structure similar to how Deep Ellum crafted the Toddy-esque Hot Old Fashioned. Instead of hot, it was New Orlean's Bellocq turning a Bourbon Old Fashioned into a Cobbler. Since I have not been back to New Orleans since Belloqc has opened, I figured this would a great way to get a glimpse at their program as best I can.
Bellocq's Old-Fashioned Cobbler
• 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Old Weller 107)
• 1/4 oz Demerara Syrup 2:1 (1/2 oz 1:1)
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
• 2 drop Vanilla Extract
• 1 Orange Wheel (Cara Cara)
Muddle the orange wheel. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a Julep cup or Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a flag consisting of fresh orange wheel and cherry on a pick. Note: this is an adaptation of the book's recipe; the book added the vanilla extract onto the orange wheel and garnished the flag with powdered sugar as well.
The Old Fashioned attributed this Cobbler to Kirk Estopinal as his take on the "muddled style Old Fashioned, the kind you used to get before the mixology movement took hold." While the structure was similar to an Old Fashioned, I was curious what this more refreshing and elegantly presented variation would offer. Once prepared, the flag garnish donated orange and cherry aromas. The muddled orange continued the citrus notes into the sip where it played well with the Bourbon's malt flavors. Finally, the rest of the whiskey notes came through on the swallow along with the bitter's spice and a vanilla finish. While inherently not too different recipe-wise from a New Fashioned Old Fashioned, the presentation distracted me from thinking about it as such.

So thank you to Laura for picking the theme and running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the mixing spoons stirring and the spirit of the event alive!

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