I really like bitters forward old fashioneds. To me, bitters bring flavor and spice that you aren’t going to find elsewhere. One way to get a lot of bitters into a cocktail without making it, well, too bitter, is to make a syrup with bitters as all or part of the liquid. For this drink I have chosen Applejack, brown sugar and black walnut bitters to use in the syrup. It is then combined with calvados, bourbon and rum.
This is a big drink in size, strength and flavor. The taste of apple blends with the vanilla and spice from the rum and the combined smoky notes of the rum and bourbon. The black walnut bitters really stand out. I initially used Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, but I think that Angostura Bitters with the Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters and Orange Bitters is better.
You can easily lighten up this drink by substituting Cruzan Dark Aged Rum for the Zaya and/or Russell’s 10 year old Bourbon for the Basil Hayden’s.
Here is the recipe:
- 1 oz. Calvados
- 1 oz. Aged rum such as Zaya 12 Year Old
- 1 oz. Aged bourbon such as Basil Hayden’s
- 1 oz. Black Walnut Syrup (See below)
- 1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)
- 2 dashes Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
- 2 dashes Fees Brothers Orange Bitters
- 2 dashes Fees Brothers Aztec Bitters or Angostura Bitters
- Thick orange peel for garnish
- Stir all ingredients, except the garnish, in a mixing glass with ice.
- Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with fresh ice – preferably a single large cube or sphere
- Express the orange oils over the drink and float the peel.
Black Walnut Syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 oz. Applejack
- 1 oz. Fees Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the liquid, stirring frequently. Or you can put all of the ingredients in a blender and run on high for a few minutes.
- Allow to cool
- It will keep longer if you filter it through a metal coffee filter to remove any undissolved sugar crystals.
- Will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks