It's that time of year that we all crave meeting friends after work on a sunny patio and sharing stories while sipping on our favorite beverage. But this year, times are just a touch different and more and more of us are staying closer to home.
For us home has always been where we can unwind the best. Whether cozied up by the fire on a cool night or sitting on the back deck on a warm summer evening watching the birds dance and skip as the sun sets on the mountains.
This got us thinking that maybe this was the perfect time to share a bit more from our Farm. And what better way than do that than over a drink? So we would like to warmly welcome you to our Summer Series of Cocktails at the Farm in collaboration with a few select brands.
Each week over the summer we will be mixing, sipping, and creating fun recipes to share with you from some of our favorite local Breweries, Distilleries, Wineries, and other really great brands that enhance our summer cocktail experience. We will also take you on a walk from time to time to rooms and special corners of our farm where you can see some of our animals and special nooks we like to call home.
In true Alberta fashion, the sky is gloomy and the air has a bite for our first-weekend feature. But fear not, that just means that we can get a bit more traditional and cozy up with a new take on a classic. Perfect for sipping while sharing a blanket in front of the fireplace.
Today's feature brand is Black Cloud Bitters. They are a local Calgary company that prides itself on crafting everything by hand. This includes production, bottling, labeling, capping, and packaging. Their commitment to craft is in every bottle they produce. They currently produce eight flavors of bitters which are savory, aromatic, fruity, and woodsy all positioned towards culinary and mixology professionals, home bar enthusiasts, and a range of imbibers exploring beverage and food creation.
For those new to Bitters here's a bit of history. In the 1800s Bitters were at the top of their game before eventually dying off at the turn of the 20th century, due to government regulation. Prohibition took out most production though one of the oldest Bitters companies is still thriving and is known by most as Angostura. This is the most well-known Bitters companies and likely one that you are most familiar with.
So what are Bitters? Simply put they are extracts with a boozy flavor made by infusing barks, flowers, roots, berries, and various other components of plants in alcohol. To be used in moderation in drops and dashes. Many people suggest that Bitters are to cocktails what salt is to food. They have an ability to blend and compliment flavors just as salt can accentuate flavors to our favorite dishes.
So let's dive in. Because today is chilly and a bit grey we thought what better way to share Black Could Bitters with you than by sharing an Old Fashioned.
To make this cocktail at home you will need:
- A good Whiskey or Bourbon (Burbon is not local to Canada as it has to adhere to strict guidelines. It can be made in any state in the U.S., though Kentucky is most famous for it. It, too, is a straight American whiskey, but the mash has to have at least 51 percent corn in the recipe, and it must be aged in new, charred oak containers/barrels in order to be called a Bourbon). For this recipe we are staying closer to home with Bearface Canadian Whiskey (produced in Toronto) - We have chosen the One Eleven Series which blends ten parts whiskey to one part Agava Spirit blended to create an earthy, smokey finish.
- Bitters - We are using Black Cloud Bitters Charred Cedar
- Raw Sugar Cube
- Optional but next level good Bourbon Cocktail Cherries. We are using Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. as they are handcrafted and named after a colorful old soul that lived an adventurous life.
Step one: Add one raw sugar cube to the bottom of your cocktail glass (you can use white sugar but raw is better).
Step two: Saturate with bitters, add a dash of plain water.
Step three: Use your muddler (or the back of a spoon) to crush the bitters and sugar into a paste, essentially creating a simple syrup until dissolved.
Step four: Add ice. We love large clear cubes. Clear ice melts ultra slow and doesn't dilute drinks and adds no additional flavors. So the ingredients in your drink are the star of the show from first to the final sip. If you don't have a large ice mold fill glass with ice.
Step five: Add Whiskey or Bourbon. Traditionally 1.5 to 2oz is standard.
Step six: Garnish with one or two bourbon cherries and an orange slice. If you would like to sweeten your cocktail a touch add a little bit of the cherry juice.
We love that by using Black Cloud Bitters Charred Cedar we are adding a modern and local twist on a drink that has been around since 1880.
Tonight we will be sipping these paired with some roasted nuts by the fireplace.
We would like to thank Black Cloud Bitters for generously participating as this week's select brand. We also want to give a huge shout out to the staff and knowledge at Willow Park Wines & Spirits for their wonderful suggestions for this week's cocktail.