(Note: this post was originally published on March 19, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Bourbon, coffee, maple, and orange. It's a flavor pairing made in heaven, and I'm celebrating it in this very unique Coffee Maple Old Fashioned.
However, coffee isn't entering into this cocktail in a way you'd expect. Instead of adding coffee into the drink itself, I've added it by way of a very large, charismatic coffee ice cube.
My thought process behind this was to create a drink that evolves over the course of your interaction with it. When you start sipping this Old Fashioned, the coffee is more in the aroma, because the ice hasn't started to melt yet. The first few sips are very bourbon-forward. Then, as the drink sits and the coffee cube melts, the coffee flavor melds with the bourbon, creating notes of bitterness and even chocolate. In this way, the drink is a journey of sorts, winding through a wide array of flavors as it progresses.
The Old Fashioned is a very classic whiskey cocktail, and one that we love immensely. It's straightforward and simple, plus it's a great blank canvas for seasonal variations like this Apple Thyme Old Fashioned.
Classically-speaking, the Old Fashioned is made with bourbon (although rye can work as well, but is less traditional). The "original" Old Fashioned is just bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters. It's generally stirred and then served on the rocks (ideally a single large cube, in my opinion) and garnished with orange peel.
In this delightfully complex version, a large coffee cube provides great aroma, depth, and coffee flavor. Instead of the traditional Angostura bitters, I like to use coffee bitters; something wintry (e.g. pecan bitters) would also work. Instead of simple syrup (which in my opinion just isn't very exciting... sorry), I use maple syrup. And finally, instead of the usual orange peel, I've shown this drink with a very silly and whimsical mandarinquot half. Although this is by no means a traditional Old Fashioned, the components and ratios stay true to the spirit of the classic.
This winter, I began collaborating with some fellow Vermonters at Paradiso Farm. They make the most amazing Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee, which I used to develop a recipe for this delicious Maple Bourbon Coffee Rubbed Tofu. However, as I was creating the tofu recipe (and drinking Paradiso Farm's beautiful coffee every morning), I couldn't help but thinking... this needs to become an Old Fashioned!
Paradiso Farm's Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee is aged in maple bourbon barrels from Saxtons River Distillery (also in Vermont!), so the beans take on an incredible bourbon aroma and flavor. I actually chose to use citrus in the tofu recipe because I was inspired by an Old Fashioned. Clearly, the unification of bourbon, coffee, maple, and orange needed to happen again, this time in the form of a cocktail.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
This cocktail is familiar enough to feel classic, yet interesting enough to feel fresh. It would be perfect alongside a cozy, wintry meal. It would also be so fun alongside a breakfast-for-dinner concept, or perhaps even at a boozy brunch. Although we traditionally think of coffee as a morning flavor, its bitterness and complexity make it highly versatile.
I hope you'll have some fun with this one! Because cocktails should be fun, right?
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: I received free product from Paradiso Farm. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
This delightfully rich and complex Old Fashioned riff unites fragrant coffee, sweet maple, and fresh orange for an unforgettable combination. This versatile cocktail can do anything from a boozy brunch to a cozy winter evening in front of the fire.
Have a look around at some of my favorite recipes! I can't wait to see what you create.