It’s the time of year when brown spirits come out to play and really make autumnal cocktails shine! Can you imagine getting through fall & winter entertaining without a bottle of whiskey on hand? The layered spices, rich vanilla, and toasted grains from bourbons, ryes and scotches add a nice depth to whatever concoction you want to whip up for yourself or a crowd.
I tend to mix up cocktails that require some skill (which I gladly like to share with others), but once in awhile I want something that’s more of a no-brainer, something to mix after a loooong day. When I want an easy peasy cocktail, I turn to the classics. They’re usually simple — I have the spirits on hand already and have come across them enough that I can make them in my sleep.
Recipes for classic cocktails vary greatly (who decided a muddled, fruit cocktail mess was o.k. in an Old Fashioned?!) and are just as easy to screw up as they are to make, so I always turn to the International Bartenders Association for the right proportions and recipes. It’s also a great source for those wanting to learn the craft of the cocktail!
Although I love a good classic (Old Fashioneds & Mai Tais being my favorites), sometimes you gotta mix it up a bit! Recently I was craving a Manhattan with a twist, so I perused the farmer’s market for in-season produce to jazz up this traditional tipple.
Figs are my go-to fruit at the moment for their versatility in savory and sweet dishes or cocktails. This particular cocktail does require planning ahead – about two days for the infusion – but then takes just seconds to put together when you want a fruit-filled boozy beverage. It’s definitely worth it and your future-self will thank you!
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces fig infused rye
1/2 ounces dry vermouth
1/2 ounces sweet vermouth
2 dashes bitters (either Fee Brother’s Old Fashioned Bitters or Fig & Cinnamon bitters, if you don’t mind investing in fig & cinnamon bitters, they are a bit on the pricer side, but they works so well with this cocktail)
lemon peel and Luxardo Maraschino cherry
Add 2 cups figs to 1 bottle of rye and let infuse for at least 2 days. Double strain the fig rye to remove all seeds. Add rye, vermouths and bitters to a mixing glass. Top glass 3/4 full of ice. With a bar spoon, mix for 30 seconds. Using a hawthorne strainer, strain into a short glass such as a coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry wrapped with a lemon peel.
When people hear the word infusion, they get intimidated. It’s some fancy technique reserved for suspender-wearing mixologists behind the bar right? Wrong! I mean, liquor infusions can be complicated if you want them to be, but throw in some fruit, spices, and/or herbs into a spirit, let them set for a bit & strain, and you will have yourself a beautiful, boozy homemade spirit that will impart a unique flavor to any traditional drink or custom-made cocktail.
Photography, styling, and recipe by craft & cocktails for Jojotastic.