Black Walnut and Maple Sugar Old Fashioned
There is no thoughtfully stocked home bar that I've visited where you can’t find a bottle of bitters, but it is the sign of more respectable cocktail enthusiast where you can find two or more! Those sweet little bottles that look more like a tincture found in an apothecary than sitting next to the whiskey bottle, but isn't that why we love them- they have some old-time appeal. Their origins were just that- medicinal tonics concocted and pedaled by physicians or “quacks” to remedy a whole host of ailments. Made from infusing bark, herbs, fruit peels, flowers, roots, and alcohol almost anything can be made into bitters offering a depth and complexity of flavor that leave you asking after your sip, “What am I tasting?” much like you do with a well-seasoned dish.
By 1806, the word cocktail was popularized to describe a mix of spirits, water, sugar, and bitters. Typically Angostura Aromatic Bitters which has stood the test of time with its recognizable oversized label. Now there are dozens of new reputable bespoke bitters makers out there so we suggest you find one you like and start experimenting. This cocktail’s Black Walnut Bitters was discovered in a drink I was served at a restaurant in Maine. The old fashioned had this wonderful subtle, almost toasted flavor that hooked me. I asked for the ingredients and a week later had re-created that beautiful experience in a beautiful glass.
The Primo Old Fashioned
Dissolve maple sugar in a splash of water in a cocktail mixing glass.
Add 2 ounces whiskey, a dash black walnut bitters (a dash is roughly 6 drops). Add ice and stir.
Strain over a lowball glass with large cube of ice if desired and garnish with orange rind.