Talarico set down a beautiful drink of brown “water,” and a great waft of fresh orange oil greeted me before I took my first sip. It was their version of an old fashioned, and there was nothing typically “old fashioned” about it. I fell in love with it immediately. In fact, our whole table did, including several whiskey haters.
Needless to say, after the second drink, we were unified in our love for Talarico’s old fashioned. So much so, that I had to learn to make it!
The crew at Hog & Hominy are purists and set out to uncover the original recipe for an old fashioned before it got bogged down in sweet fruits and watered down with way too much club soda. They went all the way back to a couple of old bartender books, including one from 1887.
What makes this old fashioned so much better for me is that the cherries and their sticky sweet pink syrup are gone. The sweet notes are natural and perfect for the holidays — orange and vanilla and spice. A big strip of orange zest is twisted to release the oils and rubbed all over the inside of the glass, creating the bold citrus aroma. It is removed and then placed in the glass as a garnish once the drink is made.
Great bourbons are rich with notes of vanilla and spice, and those are essential for this recipe. And two kinds of bitters are essential here — orange bitters to balance out the sweet orange oil, as well as the classic unmistakable flavor of Angostura bitters.
And, of course, you’ll want a large ice ball. Plenty of companies sell trays to make large cubes, so start there. And in a pinch, regular ice is fine.
NICK’s OLD FASHIONED
Start to finish: 10 minutes