Cora & Louise is nothing if not a springboard for new ideas, adventures and creativity. For my first post, it seemed appropriate to take something classic, that I love dearly, and manipulate the ingredients to turn it into something new — so I set some herbs on fire and stirred in alcohol.
The Old Fashioned is the bar standard and it's certainly served as a key player in some of my best memories. I sipped this cocktail for the first time with one of my best friends during a sweltering summer we spent together in New York City. Then when he moved to Louisville, Kentucky he made the drink for me as we celebrated — now I'm passing my take of the recipe on to you all.
Swirling around in the smooth bourbon and sweet peaches has so much potential for creating rich memories and stories you can tell over and over. So, I have only one condition that you MUST agree to: do not make this cocktail only for yourself. Make it in bulk, and drink them with people you love.
This version of the Old Fashioned is so unique to me. Not only is the smoke incredibly beautiful, it also adds a dimension to the cocktail that feels so cozy — it felt like the perfect combination of summer and fall.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Evenly space thyme sprigs away from one another on a baking sheet and bake for 3-5 mins. (If you can find dried thyme or leave it out a few days in advance, that is best. But if you're an impatient bartender like I was, this is a quick way to dry your thyme — just keep an eye on it!)
- Using a candle, lighter or match light the thyme sprig. Note that the sprig will flame quickly, so shake it like you would a match to put out the flame but maintain smoke.
- Lay the sprig on a flat surface that you don't mind getting a little char on — like the other side of a wooden cutting board.
- Turn your glass upside down to cover the smoking thyme and let it sit for a minute or so.
- Combine the bourbon, juice of the lime, peach simple syrup (recipe below!) and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into a short tumbler filled with ice. (I prefer to use one large ice cube, you can find molds for round or large square cubes at most stores.)
- Add a dash or two of bitters and garnish with thyme and a sliced peach. This recipe yields one drink but remember our deal! ;)
- In a medium saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil, add peaches and stir well.
- Add citric acid for longer storage and to maintain color longer — this is an optional step but if you like to keep a well stocked bar I encourage it!
- Reduce to simmer after sugar is completely dissolved.
- Once the peaches are soft, crush them with the end of your spoon to release more flavor into the syrup.
- Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook down for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Syrup will be very hot so be careful! Remove from heat and allow to cool in a separate bowl.
- Once cooled, strain the peaches from the syrup.
ALSO! Be sure to come back on Thursday for more peach goodness from KT!