This article is by guest writer David T Smith of Summer Fruit Cup.
It seems fitting that, for my second article on James Bond Drinks, the featured drink comes from the second Bond book, 1956’s Live and Let Die.
Bond asks for Old Fashioneds to accompany the chicken sandwiches he has ordered for himself and Solitaire as they speed down to St. Petersburg, Florida aboard The Silver Phantom sleeper train in an attempt to escape Mr. Big and his cronies.
The Old Fashioned is a Grandfather of a drink and adheres to a very early definition of a cocktail; alcoholic spirit, bitters, water, and sugar.
Although there are variations calling for brandy, rye or even gin, Bond chooses the traditional option of bourbon; in particular, Old Grandad Bourbon, which is a particularly strong and flavourful variety.
Take one sugar cube and place into an Old Fashioned Glass (tumbler)
Add a few dashes of bitters (Angostura)
Add enough water to just about cover the sugar cube
Muddle the mixture until all of the sugar has dissolved
Fill the glass with ice and a double measure of bourbon
Strain the mixture into a second Old Fashioned Glass
Garnish with a cherry and slice of orange (optional)
Unfortunately, writing this article didn’t coincide with a trip on a sleeper train, although I did make some oven-fried chicken sandwiches to accompany the drink. I was intrigued as to how well the sandwiches would go with the cocktail as, to me, they didn’t seem natural partners; however, it was a superb combination: the strong flavours of the bourbon and the hints of bitters really brought out the juiciness of the the chicken. The slight smokiness of the whisky also went very well with the meat; there was certainly a synergy between the two.
Looking at the drink on its own, I feel that it really is a great way to enjoy the rich flavours of the bourbon. I’m always amazed at how the simple addition of sugar, water and bitters can make such a difference. The drink has just the right amount of sugar and the bitters adds just a little zing to the already flavourful bourbon; it’s smooth and delicious, but – a word of caution – it is very easy to drink.
David T Smith runs the blog Summer Fruit Cup, looking at all things related to drink and drinking. Topics covered include tasting and reviews, cocktail history and vintage bar-ware.