By Mike Augustyniak

Every Saturday, Mike Augustyniak picks up a new cocktail recipe from a local mixologist. This week, he heads to the Butcher & the Boar to check out one of the best known cocktails, but also one of the harder ones to get just right: the Old Fashioned.

Ingredients

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In a mixing glass (over large ice cubes, if possible) combine:

— 3 dashes Angostura bitters
— About ½ tsp. brown sugar
— ½ oz. simple syrup
— 2 oz. Knob Creek single-barrel bourbon

Directions

Stir over ice for at least 40 rotations, and until the “heat” of the bourbon becomes less tangy.

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Strain into a lowball glass with fresh (large, if possible) ice cubes.

Taste Test

By definition, the old fashioned recipe doesn’t vary much from bar to bar. Maybe one omits the brown sugar for a full ounce of simple syrup; and, then, others use the raw sugar.

That leaves the quality of the bourbon and the quality of the ice to make the difference, according to founding partner and head bartender of Butcher and the Boar, Jerald Hansen.

Butcher sells more single-barrel Knob Creek bourbon than any other bar in the world, and that’s by design. Hansen buys entire barrels direct from the distillery; barrels that he selects personally, after sampling, which are aged in what he calls “the sweet spots” of the Knob Creek warehouses.

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Hansen also says the impact on taste of using the right the ice cubes is “if not the most important” ingredient, “it’s right there.” Larger cubes impart more cold with less melting, resulting in a better overall taste. The half-moon ice cubes in your ice-maker at home are fine but, for a few bucks, you can buy a silicone ice-cube tray that makes ½”, 1″, and 1½” square cubes. If you’re serious about your bourbon, like Butcher and the Boar is, you might want to invest.

Mike Augustyniak