Own Your Cocktail
Your own ingredients, your own cocktail
by David Seale
I generally place bourbon drinkers and their cocktails into one of three categories. The first views the Old Fashioned as a loose blueprint that can have creative variations, and drinkers in this category enjoy tasting and experimenting with individual incarnations of the classic cocktail. The second category takes a hard line on the Old Fashioned variants, believing there is one recipe, and those who mess with it are trafficking in blasphemy or some mild witchcraft. Drinkers in this category also spend a lot of time arguing over exactly what is the definitive recipe. And then you have a third category of bourbon drinkers who don't want a damn thing in their glass except that glorious brown water. And maybe a couple of ice cubes. Anything else and there is where your blasphemy lies.
Personally, it depends on my mood. There are days where all I want is bourbon straight but other times, I fall into the first category, and I'm always interested to see what can be done with a fairly simple cocktail template. I don’t have time for the middle category.
It was while I was tinkering with different variations that I wound up creating something that goes far enough beyond the classic Old Fashioned that I don't think it can be called an interpretation and must stand on its own.
I had purchased a fantastic bottle of George Dickel seven-year bottled in bond and was using it in different cocktails to see how it changed the character, substituting Tennessee whiskey for Kentucky bourbon. I had also begun creating different types of flavored simple syrup and was trying to figure out what to do with a large bag of clementines. What resulted is the Clemmie, named partially for the fruit being used but more so for a friend's dog, a lovable English setter who lived its best life in Memphis.
Whiskey and citrus have always played nicely with each other. With the Clemmie, the sweetness of the clementine pairs well with the smooth boldness of Tennessee whiskey, and the result is very drinkable and tasty while still maintaining the integrity of the Dickel (or Jack or whatever your Tennessee whiskey preference may be). Because of this, the higher quality of the alcohol, the better the cocktail.
2 oz of Tennessee whiskey
3/4 oz of clementine simple syrup (recipe below)
2 dashes of orange bitters
clementine peel as garnish
Shake first three ingredients, pour over ice.
Clementine simple syrup:
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice
1/2 cup water
Heat on medium until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Let it cool, refrigerate. Will keep for a week or so.
David Seale in an amateur mixologist. He would go pro, but that would involve actually working; plus, he would lose his amateur status and couldn't compete in the Olympics.