The idea of the craft cocktail has been a common assumption made all too often in my recent experience. Noticing the high-end establishments that offer sub-par beverages at premium rates is insulting to the craftspeople who demonstrate the care and quality that truly warrants the title.

I have found my one beverage that I believe helps me identify the places that seek out the ingredients and work with trained professionals to execute proper libations. Mixing juice and soda with liquor in varying quantities is not quite the test needed to make this determination.

To accomplish this task I think a classic is most appropriate. A drink that inspires the mixologist to choose the optimal spirit, and enhance it with the right touch of each ingredient, employing all the right motions and ratios to achieve his/her version of perfection.

For this challenge, my cocktail is the old-fashioned. A bourbon-based beverage that calls for a combination of ingredients not found in every bar setting; however a true craft establishment would have no issue.

The requirements call for the proper selection and execution of the following:

  • A good quality spirit chosen for its unique characteristics
  • Muddled orange, dark cherry, and sweetener
  • Bitters, Ice & Tonic
  • Stirred and not shaken

In each of the areas above I have noticed where common drinking establishments fall short in the crafting of this classic favorite, resulting in pure disappointment.

This beverage when done well, is a semi-sweet sipping sensation, that will settle you into the evening in comfort.