Old Fashioned Party Base

Dan Toulgoet photo

Nightingale head bartender Rhett Williams created this base to take the time-consuming part out of making an Old Fashioned, and to make it versatile enough to use with just bourbon, brandy, rye or rum. It’s perfect for hosting a crowd. Note that this recipe needs at least 24 hours before it’s ready to use.

INGREDIENTS:
• 3 cups (750 mL) turbinado sugar
• 3 oranges, peel only, no pith
• 3 lemons, peel only, no pith
• 3 cups (750 mL) almost-boiling water
• 5 oz (150 mL) Angostura or other aromatic bitters

METHOD:
Make an oleo saccharum (sugar oil): muddle sugar and the citrus peels together until the peels begin to release their essential oils. Place in a clean, covered container and refrigerate from 24 hours to four days – the longer you leave it, the more flavour will be extracted from the peels.

To finish the base, pour the hot water over the sugar oil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the bitters and strain out the peels. Place base in a sterilized container and cover. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to six months. Makes about 3 cups (750 mL).

To use it in a cocktail, place ¼ oz (7 mL) base and 2 oz (60 mL) spirit of your choice in an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Stir well. Serves 1.

 —by Rhett Williams

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