A couple of weeks ago, the PeguWife and I made the long but always worthwhile journey downtown to M at Miranova, which I reviewed earlier. Cris, my favorite bartender there, was working (say hi to her a Tales, folks!) and pointed me to her new drink, The Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned.
Both Maggi and I really liked this drink, and given my current obsession with Old Fashioneds I think this is a good time to share it with you. I’ve made a number of these since first trying them at M, and my recipe differs slightly from Cris’s. If you think it is a bit off, blame me and go ask Cris for the original.
- 2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 3 drops Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 large slice of orange peel
Use a vegetable peeler to strip off a wide, shallow strip of orange peel and drop it in the bottom of an old fashioned glass. Lay your half of a vanilla bean on cutting board and split it in two with your paring knife. (To do this most safely, hold the knife still and pull the bean through the blade.) Add the simple syrup and bitters and muddle thoroughly. Add some ice and the bourbon, then more ice to fill the glass. Stir gently to chill and arrange the peel and vanilla hulls attractively in the glass.
The resulting cocktail is rich, complex, and sweet, but not as sweet as it sounds. Maggi declared it to be a delicious
vegan eggnog. If those two words make no sense together, like jumbo shrimp or government accountability, just try the drink. Try the drink anyway, it’s delicious.
I will say that I balked at first over putting a full ounce of simple syrup in any drink. I tried it side by side with the full ounce and a half ounce to compare, and learned something. The extra sugar did not make the drink appreciably sweeter. What the extra syrup did do however, was to bring out the flavors of the orange oils and the bitters. I’ve got lots of fun experimenting ahead of me on this effect.