I was recently reading Robert Simonson’s A Proper Drink and stumbled upon a story about three bartenders in Boston who got together to make the perfect Jack Rose. They pooled their cocktail book collection and tried over 25 different iterations before landing on a single recipe. Once the task was complete, the group dubbed themselves The Jack Rose Society and continued to gather to recipe test the classics, trying every recipe they could find until they came to a consensus on their favourite.
I love this idea- that even the classics have multiple iterations and not a single one is necessarily wrong or right. Because at the end of the day, taste is so subjective and the way I like my martini is different from the way my husband likes his martini which is different from how The Savoy tells me to make it. As such, I’ve decided to start a new column inspired by the idea behind The Jack Rose Society. One classic cocktail, three bartenders, three different recipes. The variations may be as minimal as a quarter ounce, a different garnish, a preferred spirit brand. But sure enough, not one bartender provided the same answer. So let’s start with The Old Fashioned, shall we?
Bartender, The Noble Experiment, Melbourne
5 mls Demerara Syrup
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
60 mls Lot 40
Stir in old fashioned glass add ice as necessary Garnish with orange twist
Bartender, Annette Food Market, Toronto, ON.
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
3 orange peels
In a mixing glass add 1 sugar cube. Saturate with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Measure out 1oz of bourbon and pour just a bit onto the sugar. Add 2 peels of orange then muddle hard. Add the rest of that oz of bourbon, some ice, and stir. Add another ounce of bourbon, a bit more ice, stir again until sugar is dissolved. Strain onto a fresh large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a flamed orange zest.
Bar Consultant, Vancouver, BC
60 ml Buffalo Trace bourbon
1 brown sugar cube
1 orange peel
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Add bitters, sugar, and orange peel to mixing glass. Let soak for 15 seconds. Muddle all together, add bourbon. Slowly add ice while stirring, add more ice, stir. When ready (to taste) strain over fresh rocks. Zest an orange peel over top, serve with a cherry. And I quote: “Don’t you dare flame my orange twist. Thanks.”