Delmar and Ava, young and in love, around 1938/39
I come by my love of drink quite honestly. My Dad’s folks, Delmar and Ava, had cocktails most every day. At the strike of 5 bells, the dry roasted peanuts would come out of the cupboard, the bourbon would resume it’s place on the counter, and the Whiskey Sours, Old Fashioneds, and occasional Manhattans would be prepared as accompaniment to a game of bridge (if the neighbors dropped by) or cribbage (if it was just the two of them) or the occasional game of solitaire (if no one really felt like talking anymore). I honestly never paid too much attention to the drinks themselves, other than knowing that the whiskey they drank – Ancient Age, as I recall – was purchased by the case and given to them at the holidays by my Dad. As a young girl, I learned loads of different ways to play solitaire, and am still an adept cribbage player, but it wasn’t until some point in my thirties when I developed a great appreciation for the twilight cocktail hour.
The daily cocktail hour drinkers. We don’t drink to get drunk. For me, it’s more that initial sensation that arrives with the first sip or two, the warmth that overcomes the body, followed by a flush rising to the surface of the skin. The forgetting of all the trials of the day, the annoyances, the 30 mile commute, Excel spreadsheets, conference calls, emails; all the “adulting”. The realization that the work of the day is done. The time has come to sit. Drink. Reflect. If only for a moment.
If only for a moment. Because sometimes, that’s all you get.
I realize Luxardo cherries are pricey, and can be difficult to find. But they are certainly one of the better cherries I’ve had and make a wonderful addition to a classic Old Fashioned. My favorite recipe is the simplest of them all:
- One sugar cube – alternatively, you could use about a tsp of simple syrup. The simple syrup is most certainly easier to mix;
- A good squeeze of fresh orange;
- Dash of bitters – Fee Brothers, Peychaud’s, or Regans Orange;
- Bourbon of choice – although, Rye works just as well;
- About 3 cubes of ice, and top it off with club soda or seltzer, add your cherry of choice and slice of orange.
I inadvertently poured tonic into an Old Fashioned once and, although it did in fact change the overall flavor, making it a bit more acrid, it balanced that with a bit more sweet (as tonic water has sugar). It wasn’t bad. A quick fix, if all you have is tonic water, would be to skip the sugar cube/simple syrup altogether, so you basically end up with a whiskey and tonic, which is rather enjoyable on its own. But I would recommend a better quality tonic water, making sure it is not one made with high fructose corn syrup. Fever-tree or Q-tonic brands are my preferred.