In the wake of the opening of Anvil last month, and a few more visits to Beavers to chat with Ryan Rouse, I've been experimenting a lot more with Rye. Something they have over at Beaver's is a house-smoked Sazerac Rye (lots easier when you're a barbecue joint). But insofar as I've been cold-smoking stuff lately (bacon, cheeses, cherries), I thought I'd go ahead and smoke some myself. The smoked Old Fashioned I had at Beaver's was *way* too smoky for me, so I aimed to get a little less smoke out of it. And because my wallet's perennially light, I fell back on the good Old Overholt to play around with it. After two batches, smoking with about 2 parts cherry to one part hickory, I think 30 minutes in a 9x12 pan is perfect (the size of the pan matters relative to the volume, because it determines how much surface area is exposed).
I don't like Old Fashioneds done with muddled fruit; I like a clear cocktail w/o pulp, and usually the sharpness of lemon peel beats out orange. But with the smokiness of the Rye, orange zest is the way to go. Anyway, here's the Old Fashioned I've settled on, and is 95% likely to feature at the wedding in October:
2 oz. smoked Overholt Rye
1/4 oz. simple syrup
4 dashes Fee Brother's Old Fashioned Bitters.
1 Twist of orange zest
2 brandied cherries
Make this in an Old Fashioned glass: pour whiskey over ice, add syrup and bitters, stir for 20 seconds. Twist the orange zest over the cocktail so that the oil spurts out onto the surface, add the cherries, and you're done. Yum.