This week's cover story is the cocktail issue, or L.A.'s Best Cocktails, in which Jonathan Gold considers, as you can probably infer from the title, the best cocktails in Los Angeles. To celebrate the happy event, we're giving you a cocktail a day here on Squid Ink. Yesterday's drink was Penicillin from Comme Ça; today's is Cole's' Old-Fashioned. Here's what Gold has to say about the drink (below), and if you turn the page, we've gotten the recipe so you can make it at home. Who says you have to read your morning paper with a cup of coffee. This drink will also be available on Sunday, at the annual Gold Standard party. So you can have a few there, then go home and mix up some more. Cheers.
An old-fashioned is about as rudimentary as a cocktail can be: bourbon, sugar, bitters and ice. It is still one of the few mixed drinks you can expect the bartender at a beer-and-shot bar to make. If you want to get fancy with the whiskey, substituting perhaps a pungent Rittenhouse rye, that's fine, although even a bottom-shelf bourbon works here. If you want to toss in a dash or two of fancy orange bitters instead of the customary Angostura, that's OK, too. But there are scarcely words to describe the crimes committed in the name of the Old-Fashioned: groves of citrus mashed to a swampy pulp in the bottom of the glass, geysers of soda water and skewers of fruit that would be better off garnishing a suckling pig. But the splendid bartenders at Cole's, a revivified French dip parlor in business since 1908, have a sure hand with workingman's cocktails: the Rob Roys, Sazeracs and syrupy Ginger Rogerses you might have expected to find at a decent Los Angeles bar in 1953. The Old-Fashioneds I have consumed by the tankerload here are perhaps the best of my whiskey-soaked life.
From: Cole's Red Car Bar
Makes: 1 drink
a white sugar cube
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 ounces bourbon (your choice)
1 lemon peel
1 orange peel
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1 luxardo cherry
1. In a rocks glass, soak the sugar cube in the bitters.
2. Muddle the sugar in the glass, then add the bourbon and stir with ice until the sugar dissolves.
3. Finish the drink with the citrus peel and cherry.