Like many of us, Grace finds the 19th century cocktail strangely alluring, and worthy of an extended study. “The interesting contradiction is that there are so few ingredients, yet so many variations on ways to make it,” he observes while stirring two glasses of his favorite take on the concoction.* “No two bars make them exactly the same, and every bartender seems to have an opinion about how it should be made.”
Indeed, battle lines have been drawn in the drinking community on the subject of exactly what constitutes an Old Fashioned–particularly on the matter of cherries and oranges, but also on the signature ingredient itself. Bars like Ramona on Franklin Street serve cocktails like the ‘Tequila Old Fashioned,’ eschewing the traditional bourbon for a reposado.
Here, Grace stands firmly in the liberal camp: “To me, an Old Fashioned is a single liquor, a sweetener, and a bitter. It may or may not be garnished with fruit, but it must never be shaken. Anything with fruit juice or combined liquors is out–but that still leaves the door open for all kinds of experimentation and interpretations.”
So what are the best Greenpoint taverns to order a #DailyOldFashioned? Five Leaves, The Manhattan Inn and Nights and Weekends all have top-tier spins on the classic beverage, but for that number one spot, Grace singles out local old-timey mixology den The Richardson, “which makes my favorite Old Fashioned anywhere, including Manhattan OR Kentucky.”
“When you’re there, get the Barrel 69 Old Fashioned,” Grace advises (the drink features a dick-punch of a bourbon that clocks in at 110 proof and is totally exclusive to the pub. “The owner and his wife personally selected it at the Wild Turkey distillery in Kentucky…they picked a winner. Hopefully in a few weeks I’m not cursing myself for divulging my secret stash, and all of Greenpoint doesn’t descend on the place and drink it up…it would be hard to blame anyone for falling in love with this bourbon,” J.P. notes, severely overestimating the readership of this blog.
There are larger plans in store for the future of DOF, including a “Bartender of the Month” series, spotlights on featured bourbons and rye whiskeys, and various interviews with distillers–possibly even a weekend trip to Kentucky, but “we’re still looking for some sponsorship on that one.” When asked if he was blatantly fishing for a corporate-funded boozing retreat, Grace ended the interview in abrupt fashion.
“No more questions!” he shouted, rising from his bar stool and stomping towards the exit.
J.P.’s magical journey can be followed on Instagram @dailyoldfashioned.
2 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
0.5 oz of Demerara simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Stir for 10 seconds with ice. Take 1 orange rind (de-pithed), squeeze it over the glass to release essential oils, and drop it in.