Adulting is hard work. Making a cocktail shouldn’t be. Yeah, we know, it’s not all that much effort to dig out the shaker and strainer and get those upper arm muscles working, but we get it: Sometimes you want a drink and you want it now.
These boozy bourbon-fueled sips only require a glass, a few ingredients, ice and a spoon to let you get on with the imbibing that much quicker.
1. BROWN BUTTER OLD FASHIONED
Lu Brow, the cocktail director at New Orleans’ DTB knew she wanted the nutty, toasty flavor of brown butter in a cocktail. “Old Fashioneds are such a staple in the South and particularly New Orleans, so I chose to incorporate the flavors together in the glass,” she says. Brown sugar lends an earthy sweetness to this drink, whose complexity is in indirect proportion to the effort it takes to whip it up.
2. PUMPKIN SPICE OLD FASHIONED
In this adapted recipe, Los Angeles’ Copper Lounge bar manager Scott Allen mixes bourbon with a syrup that’s basically pumpkin pie seasoning in liquid form. Orange and orange bitters lend a touch of bright citrus flavor, while Angostura bitters give it depth.
3. CIDER HOUSE RULES
Billy Grise, the food and beverage director at Coppin’s Restaurant & Bar in Covington, Ky., is a big fan of author John Irving, who penned the cocktail’s namesake novel, a coming-of-age story of an orphan who leaves his home to explore the world. “My inspiration for the cocktail was to create something that kept the essence of the end of summer while equally welcoming the fall.” Feel free to substitute the strawberry cider with another flavor.
4. BOURBON & BERRIES
Originally created by former bar lead Willem Van Leuven at San Diego’s Herb & Wood and adapted by bar lead Emily Carroll, this take on the Old Fashioned rotates in a different flavored syrup depending on the seasonal produce that’s available. “The strawberry-vanilla syrup that we currently use to add dimension to this cocktail was the result of a collaborative effort with our executive pastry chef Adrian Mendoza, who’s the brains behind the berry syrup series and to date has developed a cranberry-cinnamon and blackberry-cinnamon, in addition to the strawberry,” says Carroll. Feel free to riff on a different flavor.
5. BEGGARS BANQUET
Beer-tails are really easy to make, says Michael Przybyl, the beverage manager at David’s Club at the Hilton Orlando. They maintain their effervescence when they’re gently stirred rather than vigorously shaken. “Beer has become very sophisticated and is the perfect base for a cocktail,” he says. “Besides, why should liquor have all the fun in a cocktail?” Short answer: It shouldn’t.
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