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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Sweet and Strong

When the old-fashioned debuted (circa the early 1800s) as a breakfast drink, it was strong: small amounts of water and sugar mixed with plenty of whiskey. My, how things change. Most Old-Fashioned options now are made with fruit such as orange slices or cherries. That switch has a broader appeal, though a national bartenders’ union recently went on record denouncing the changes to this classic cocktail. The taste of liquor should stand proudly on its own, without fruit and other additions, they say.

Noted. But, the Chocolate Old-Fashioned sure is fun. Think of the classic Kentucky bourbon ball candy meeting chocolate-covered fruit. It’s a great dessert drink. In our version, the crème de cacao rounds the cocktail with sweetness, and the real beauty of the old-fashioned still is intact: It’s versatile. Try it with brandy, rum, gin, or Irish whiskey. Old-Fashioned sticklers, though, will argue against bourbon. We say: If you like sweet drinks, give it a sip.

— Tom Fischer of Evansville is the host of an online show, BourbonBlog.com. He works closely with his Web site’s drink advisor, mixologist Stephen Dennison

•  2 ounces of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
•  1/2 ounce of dark crème de cacao
•  1-2 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters
•  Maraschino cherry
•  Orange wedge

Gently muddle cherry and orange in a shaker. Add bourbon, dark crème de cacao, and bitters. Add ice. Shake briskly five times. Fill rocks glass with ice. Strain contents of shaker into glass over the ice.

(Remember to keep the fruit inside the shaker to extract the fruit pulp and juice out of it and to beat out some of the bitter elements that naturally occur in the pit of the fruit. For a lighter chocolate flavor and a seasonal spring theme, the recipe can be substituted with white crème de cacao while substituting grapefruit in place of the orange.)

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