Old Fashioned: The Story Behind the Ingredients

While muddling a spoonful of hickory syrup with an orange slice, I realized several of my ingredients had a story. So here they are:

Wigle Whiskey Bitters: A local distillery in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood, Wigle Whiskey got its start in selling organic white rye whiskey. They’ve since expanded into other products including bitters, rum and gin. I picked up these bitters during one of their popular distillery tours.

Soaring Hill Hickory Syrup: For over a year, I travel to Ann Arbor, MI nearly every month for work. These pilgrimages would involve several days of long meetings. Whenever I had a free moment, I would make my way to the famous Zingerman’s shop for a slice of cake, chicken cobb salad or a little souvenir to take back home. This was an impulse purchase that works beautifully in place of simple syrup in cocktails.

Old Fashioned

Artic Chill Muddler: There was a time when I had three different muddlers. Somewhere between moves, I seemed to have lost every single one of them. When my friends at Artic Chill offered to give me a free muddler to try, I was happy to oblige. The smooth, curved handle made it easy to grip and pound. The grooves of the teeth were deep enough to really bring out the juices while blending them into the syrup.

Paddywax Apothecary Candle: It’s not exactly an ingredient for my beverage. Though it did create a lovely aroma while I was muddling and stirring. It might come as a surprise to you that I am not a fan of food-scented candles. They always seem overpowering and fake to me. I like deep, rich scents that you might find in an old building with high ceilings and leather-bound chairs. This particular candle was a Christmas gift after discovering it in a local shop in Traverse City, MI.

Old Fashioned Muddler

Old Fashioned

1 orange slice, quartered
2 dashes Wigle Whiskey Bitters, or Angostura Bitters
2 tsp. Soaring Hill Hickory Syrup, maple syrup
ice cubes
1 (2 oz.) jigger quality Makers Mark, or any quality bourbon
chilled club soda, to taste
1 – 2 maraschino cherries

Place the orange, bitters and syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass. Muddle by gently pounding the ingredients together until the juice is extracted and the syrup is dissolved.

Add a large spoonful of ice to the glass. Pour the bourbon over the ice, allowing it to collect on top of the syrup mixture. Finish with a splash of club soda, stir to combine and plop in a cherry.

Toast with a friend.