If you’ve tried to purchase medical-grade alcohol at the store lately, you know it’s like liquid gold these days. Shelves are bare where multiple bottles of alcohol used to reside. Ragged Branch Distillery in Charlottesville is helping first responders and local EMS units, as well as the local postal service, by providing medical-grade alcohol to help sanitize their work environments.
Ragged Branch understands that in times like these there are more important things than bourbon, but bourbon is what Ragged Branch is best known for. They just received six international awards for their products from the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition, including the coveted Double Gold Medallion for their Wheated Bourbon.
They sent several samples of their wonderful bourbon to me. It was perfect timing because during this time of #stayathome, I am having fun making cocktail garnishes. The “apple rose” cocktail garnish above was made by taking a long strip of green apple and curling it around a chop stick. I put a toothpick through the side of the rose and then nestled it in our ice bin in the freezer. When I was ready to garnish my glass of bourbon, I placed a jumbo ice cube in the bourbon (Jumbo ice cube melts slowly which does not dilute the bourbon as quickly. I like my bourbon chilled a bit, but many bourbon aficionados prefer bourbon neat.), removed the chopstick from the apple rose and gently placed it on top of the bourbon.
Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe recently shared some cocktail recipes for #stayathome. “The Old Fashioned Recess” is one of my favorites. I made this cocktail with Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon: Vanilla and caramel with strong cinnamon on the front. Very pleasant almond vanilla notes, finishing smoothly with a fresh taste of cinnamon.
I made the orange peel cocktail garnish by peeling long strips off an orange, then cutting thinner strips from the large strip with a ravioli cutter, to give it the crimped edge. Then I twisted the peel around a chop stick and placed it in the freezer for a an hour.
The Old Fashioned Recess
Brown Sugar Syrup:
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
2 Star Anise
2 cinnamon sticks
6 cardomom pods, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Place water in saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Add brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add Star Anise, cinnamon sticks, cardomom pods and allspice. Stir. Steep over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain into a Mason Jar or tightly covered jar and refrigerate.
For the cocktail:
2 tablespoons brown sugar syrup
4 ounces bourbon
2 -3 dashes bitters (Dashfire Orange Bitters are a good choice, available at Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe)
Splash of orange juice
Egbert cherries or maraschino cherries (Egbert cherries available at Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe)
Add the syrup, bourbon, bitters and orange juice in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fill 2 rocks glasses with large cubes of ice and pour in cocktail. Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, rub the peel around the rim of the glass. Garnish with orange peel twist and Egbert or maraschino cherries.
I love the way crisp pear wafers look on a cocktail glass. They are perfect for bourbon cocktails. I made my pear wafers by slicing a whole pear (no need to peel or core) on a mandoline. I have a flat box grater that is a mandoline on one side, so it is a bit safer to use than the traditional mandoline. Preheat oven to 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on a baking tray (put a little butter on each corner of the baking tray to adhere the parchment paper to the tray). Place pear slices on parchment paper and brush with brown sugar syrup (recipe above). Sprinkle with large sugar crystals (available in baking/cooking supply stores). Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the pear slices are brown and crispy. Remove from oven and use a spatula to loosen the pear slices if needed. Allow to cool.
Find delicious recipes on the Behind The Page Blog: theroanoker.com
Southern Spoonful Recipe Column ~ The Roanoker Magazine
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