As we gaze into our crystal snifter and divine the future of cocktails, one trend we’re seeing with greater frequency is the decreasing importance of brand names on cocktail lists. There’s hardly prestige in a top-shelf call when you lose that flavor under a barrage of other ingredients.
We’d rather have a bar program that’s thought about the nuance of a drink’s ultimate flavor, and has crafted a blend of spirits to meet that profile (and likely save us a few bucks in the process). We find an example of that trend, perfect for chasing back the howling brisk of January, at The Hasty Tasty on Lyndale and Lake.
“It’s a bourbon and a rye blend,” says bar manager De Ricci. “Bourbon has that sweet touch so we don’t have to add too much sugar, and the rye has that heat.” Ricci uses a blend of three bourbons—Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, and Jim Beam Bonded—plus Old Overholt Rye for a well-rounded foundation to this Northern-tasting old fashioned.
“Spruce essence gives it just a light touch of that spearmint on the finish. It’s very wintery, and mixed with the muscovado—which is a dark and molasses-like sugar—adds a nice herbal bright spot, and that reflects on the garnish.” Ricci torches a sprig of rosemary and the bar becomes suffused with the smell of toasty pine.
Of The Northern Fashioned
2 ounces whiskey (a blend of bourbon and rye)
¼ ounce spruce syrup (see below)
2 dashes Bittercube Trinity Bitters
Stir whiskey, syrup, and bitters in a pint glass with ice. Strain into a lowball glass with large ice cubes. Express an orange peel over the drink and add it to the glass. Arrange a sprig of rosemary in the glass, singe it with a kitchen torch until it’s smoking, and serve.
Spruce syrup: Make a 2:1 simple syrup with muscovado or other dark, unrefined sugar, adding a tiny pinch of salt to brighten the flavor. Spruce essence is available online and a powerful concentrate—add just a few drops to taste.
Find more recipes for delicious cocktails in our Craft Cocktails archive.