MxMO – XCV – Naval Regulation

mxmologoWelcome once again to Mixology Monday, the monthly on-line cocktail party.  This month, Laura from Sass & Gin (a great blog title if I ever did hear one), asks us to work with the theme of “Call Me Old Fashioned.”  As she described it:

I hereby declare March the month of the Old Fashioned at Sass&Gin, and since I’m hosting Mixology Monday this month, it seemed like perfect timing! The Old Fashioned is the original “cock tail,” dating to the early 1800’s. In this humble bartender’s opinion, it is the pater familias of all other drinks, and it has taken its place as such in the recent cocktail revival. We have seen many variations of the Old Fashioned (i.e. Mayahuel’s Oaxaca Old Fashioned, PDT’s Benton’s Old Fashioned) and the resurgence of similar cocktails (i.e. the Sazerac). The bitter’s market has exploded over the last decade, with more flavor profiles than ever before, and with a more health-conscious public, your local grocery store is likely to carry a selection of sugars to play with (agave, coconut sugar, turbinado, etc).
So, here’s the challenge: We will be sticking to the traditional ratios of spirit, bitters and sugar, but I’m challenging you to step outside the box with your selections. In addition, how will it be chilled or garnished? Do you want to add a secondary spirit or rinse? Go to town!
As you can see from reading her announcement, the basics of an Old Fashioned must remain, but we must then work within that.  Also note the rinse of a the serving glass (a nod to the sazerac’s secret life as an Old Fashioned variant).  Where to go from here? We have looked at the Old Fashioned on Southern Ash before, so let’s refresh our memory on that recipe:
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.
Wait … we didn’t give you a precise recipe?  Well, in that case, let’s get to it:
  • 2oz Spirit (usually whiskey)
  • 1 Sugar Cube/1Tsp simple syrup
  • 1-7 Dashes of Bitters, mostly to taste
  • 1 citrus peel or twist
  • 1 cocktail cherry [the more brightly colored red, the more optional it is]

I have been promising to play around more with rum, so this was a chance to use an aged dark rum to give the Old Fashioned a little twist.  I went through a few I had in the cupboard, but settled on the El Dorado 12 Year old Rum.  My closest runner up, the Smith & Cross was just too “hot” with alcohol in the mouth for what I wanted to do at a 57% alcohol. Stick with the simple syrup? Why not? The bitters where were it starts getting interesting.  I added ~3 Drops of Black Walnut Bitters from Fee Brothers and ~3 Drops of Aromatic Bitters from Jack Rudy Cocktail Company. The grapefruit provided the citrus peel but I wasn’t quite done.  For some reason, I thought a little scotch rinse in the glass would be a nice touch so a peaty and smokey Islay scotch rinse went into the eventual serving glass and a cocktail cherry was picked.

We still needed a name while working through this, but between Rum & Scotch being involved, I went with Naval Regulation.  If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.
Naval Regulation Mis-en-Place

Naval Regulation

  • 2oz Eldorado 12 Year Rum
  • dash of 1:1 Simple Syrup
  • 3-4 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters
  • 3-4 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
  • 1 Grapefruit Peel with as little pith as you can manage
  • 1 Cocktail Cherry Optional) (See the recent discussion of worthwhile cocktail cherries)
  • Islay Scotch to Rinse
  1.  Pour a wee dram of scotch into your serving glass and tilt it around to coat the inside with no more than a glistening.
  2. In your mixing glass, combine your sugar, bitters, rum, and cocktail cherry.  NO ICE.
  3. Stir.
  4. Add an ice cube to the scotch rinsed serving glass.
  5. Pour your mixed rum and bitters into the serving glass.
  6. Twist the grapefruit peel over the glass to release its oils and artfully add to your Naval Regulation
  7. Sit down and sip admiringly on your creation.
Naval Regulation
That was quite interesting.  The nose is full of flavors playing around and competing with each other but never quite winning. The initial tastes really accentuate the spices like clove and cinnamon in the bitters but came off a little too sweet.  I cut the recipe back to a dash of simple syrup and, lo-and-behold, it came together well! The rum adds the depth of flavor to the drink leaving the sweetness as a hint behind the rest of the cocktail.  The Scotch rinse really wakes the palate up so that when the rich and spicy counterpoint hits you taste each and every exciting ingredient.  If I were to use a cocktail cherry, I would cut out the simple syrup entirely and go lighter on the bitters – if you read the linked post you know those cherries will come with more than enough flavor of their own!

Naval Regulation

Finally, a thank you to Laura for hosting, Fred for herding the cocktail blogging cats, and everybody else who is giving this one a try!