Now, if you know me well you know that having a lot of an ingredient that kinda of sucks is a de facto challenge of my culinary/drink making skills. So, Very Old Barton, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
There are a number of cocktails that are essentially pillars of the drinking community and that serve as the basis for a number of variations. The Old Fashioned, the Martini, the Negroni, the Daiquiri, and of course, the Manhattan. So, sticking with something tried and true, I decided to channel the regal Manhattan. I started with 1.5 oz of the Very Old Barton, .5 oz of sweet vermouth (not pictured for some reason), and bitters. Coffee bitters were my first choice and worked pretty well, though Angostura is also a natural pairing with the apple. Peychaud's wasn't bad, either, but the other two were better. Next, I went for an apple because I had a bunch in my fridge. I'm nothing if not economical (read as: lazy). I took half the apple, cut it up sans skin, and muddled it in a shaker. At this point I thought I'd throw in some simple syrup to maybe mask the nastiness of the bourbon. I used a cinnamon* variety I made recently, about .25 ounce. I then added the other ingredients and shook with ice. Double strained (hawthorne and tea strainers) into a martini glass. Finally, garnished with a slice of apple because this is a classy establishment. At least on Tuesdays.
1.5 bourbon (Can be scaled up)
.5 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 a small(ish) apple, muddled (I'd recommend a sweeter apple like Golden Delicious to go with the vermouth)
.25 oz cinnamon simple syrup
Garnish with apple slice
I was pleasantly surprised how well this turned out. Very fresh, very smooth. You get a lot of apple and a lot of spice. Not overly sweet at all. Fresh apple juice from muddling the fruit does wonders over using a processed substitute. Perfect seasonal drink that costs a pittance to make. Tastes even better with Aziz Ansari in the background.
*To make your own cinnamon simple syrup, just make a 1::1 simple syrup and simmer it with some cinnamon sticks in it for 30 minutes. It lasts longer if you add a splash of rum or vodka.
P.S. Barrel Aged Cocktails are coming soon.