You may have guessed by now that I do the majority of the cooking in our house. Ian does very specific things like whisking and squeezing lemons when my arms get tired, but he usually leaves the cooking to me. He has very strong opinions about dessert and more recently has been getting into creating his own cocktails. He has managed to create an Old Fashioned that isn't too sweet but also isn't too whiskeyish for my liking.
I attended the Chicago Flower and Garden show several weeks back and I was wandering through the Expo looking for neat local products. I came across this cherry syrup from Lehman's Orchard, their almond butter had already changed Ian and my life - available at Gene's Sausage Shop), and immediately thought this could be an excellent replacement for the gross substance that people call Maraschino cherries. Is it me or are they just weird? I got to chatting with Brenda about what she used the syrup for and she recommended it as an ice cream topping (!!). I knew that the first thing we would use it for would be Ian's drink but am looking forward to finding other uses for it! I am always looking for ways to make cocktails from more local ingredients and vendors since it's a category that can easily be overlooked in my quest to eat (and drink) local. This syrup is delicious because it's not too sweet and has a strong, real cherry flavor.
To make Ian's Old Fashioned you need either Bourbon or rye whiskey. We used a cheaper Bourbon but Koval Distillery produces Lion's Pride dark rye whiskey and is made right in Chicago just a few miles from us. It is an excellent choice for a special occasion and can be found all over the city. Pour two ounces of Bourbon or rye into a martini shaker along with one teaspoon of cherry syrup. You can also use Burton's maple syrup if cherry syrup isn't your favorite. Then add 2 dashes of bitters and one large ice cube and shake well.
Muddle an orange slice into the bottom of the glass before pouring the drink.
Ian says that these ice cubes are official Old Fashioned ice cubes... I think he's lying, but they are still perfect for drinks because they are large enough to keep the drink cool and water it down a bit (if you're a baby like me and don't appreciate the burn of a nice cup of Bourbon). Pour over the ice and orange and voila you have a lovely localish beverage!
Ian's Old Fashioned
2 ounces Bourbon or rye whiskey
1 teaspoon Lehman's cherry syrup
2 dashes bitters
1 orange slice
2 ice cubes