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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Orange and Bourbon

    In recent experiments trying different flavors with bourbon, I have found orange to be one of the most pleasant. The flavors seem to "synergize" (is that a verb?). Lemon doesn't work as well although the lemon-based whiskey sour, and its correlative the bourbon sour, is an acknowledged star in the constellation of cocktails. The flavor of orange is more subtle than that of lemon. Putting things another way, lemon works as well if you add more sugar than if using orange.

    At first, I tried to dispense with sugar or other sweetenings when using orange. E.g., I'd add orange bitters only, or a dash of Charbay blood orange vodka, or a measure of fresh orange juice. All these imparted good orange flavor and melded well with the whiskey. But the citric addition upset the natural balance of the whiskey, its sweetness quotient that is.

    By adding a touch of sugar or syrup to the orange-infused bourbon (or straight rye or a mixture of straight whiskeys and sometimes other whiskeys), this re-established the balance which the whiskey had its own. In effect I created an Old-Fashioned. But I did it from the ground up, sussing out its internal logic as it were.

    Apricot works very well with bourbon; so does peach. Dark fruits do not, however. A blueberry Old-Fashioned? I don't think so... A possible, nay probable, exception is that prune-like flavors work well with rye whiskey or a whiskey in which the rye element dominates.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-20-2006 at 17:18.

  2. #2
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    I second the apricot brandy endorsement. Last Monday, while smoking a couple of pork butts, a friend and I enjoyed a couple of Santa Barbara cocktails and a couple of Dallas Texans. Both were quite good, with the Texans a stand out, and they both paired citrus, grapefruit in one case, lime in the other, with bourbon and apricot brandy. The Texan also included some grenadine.

    I agree that the trick with sours of all stripes is to prevent the citrus from overpowering the drink. I have a brother who is a devoted scotch drinker and when I make him bourbon or rye sours, he takes so little sugar with it that in my opinion you can't really pick up the whiskey at all.

    By the same token, some bourbons are so sweet themselves that sweet vermouth seems beside the point when mixing Manhattans. I've learned the hard way to go very easy with the vermouth, particularly more unusual brands like Vya and Punt e Mes. I often like perfect Manhattans, as the addition of just a little dry vermouth yields a drink more balanced to my palate. Noilly Prat is my fall back choice.

    If you like the orange/bourbon combo, Gary, you really need to get hold of some old Amer Picon.

    http://cocktaildb.com/ingr_detail?id=17

    It's a great substitute for vermouth in a Manhattan, although you might need a little sugar to take the edge off the bitterness. Flame an orange twist over the whole thing and you've got a very special cocktail.

    -Mike
    "This is the real article. It is double-rectified busthead from Madison County, aged in the keg. A little spoonful would do you a power of good."

    -True Grit by Charles Portis

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Thanks for that, the combination of apricot brandy and bourbon sounds really good. Is Amer Picon still made? Another option is orange curacao, which is sweetish I think, or Cointreau, but bitters might be necessary with them, and vermouth, to get closer to an Amer Picon taste.

    Gary

  4. #4
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    Gary,

    Doesn't surprise me that you find orange to be one of the best fruit enhancements. Compass Box has an orange infused (using orange peel and spices) scotch, Orangerie, that is quite good for a change.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Thanks Tom, I'd like to try Orangerie, I like all the Compass Box whiskies I've tried but never found that one.

    This is a fine company with a penchant for innovation.

    I also want to try its Spice Tree, rather rare because now withdrawn due to objection by Scotch Whisky Association. It had to do with the way the whisky (a vatted malt) was finished (see last Malt Advocate for more details).

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-21-2006 at 18:12.

  6. #6
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    I recently moved and was trying to finish off some of the partial bottles in my cabinet rather than try to pack them. I mixed a little Cointreau with Buffalo Trace and found this a very pleasant combination on a hot day. I managed to finish both bottles...
    Craig

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    I did something similar with some Henry McKenna BIB. I added a dash water and then a light dash of Charbay blood orange vodka. Half-teaspoon loose brown sugar. (I find if you swirl the glass well even granulated sugar will dissolve, it just takes longer than for syrup). In this case I added rocks which brought out the orange/corn flavours. Very nice cocktail.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-22-2006 at 05:03.

  8. #8
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    I have mixed bourbon with Orangina with decent results. I tried triple sec one time.....I wouldnt advise it.

  9. #9
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    Amer Picon is still being made, but from what I understand at a lower proof and reduced quality. I recommend trying to find an old forgotten bottle. Evidently in France, a little is added to a beer for a Picon Bier.

    Torani Amer which is sometimes suggested as an alternative is very different from true Amer Picon.
    "This is the real article. It is double-rectified busthead from Madison County, aged in the keg. A little spoonful would do you a power of good."

    -True Grit by Charles Portis

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman
    At first, I tried to dispense with sugar or other sweetenings when using orange. E.g., I'd add orange bitters only, or a dash of Charbay blood orange vodka, or a measure of fresh orange juice. All these imparted good orange flavor and melded well with the whiskey. But the citric addition upset the natural balance of the whiskey, its sweetness quotient that is.
    Gary
    Hi Gary,
    If the citric acid present in orange juice is something you would like to avoid rather than mask with sugar why don't you try orange extract?
    I haven't tried this since I don't have any at home and haven't remembered to pick it up when I was at the store. I have mentioned elsewhere that I add a few drops of lemon extract to margaritas and find it makes a world of difference. I think I will try some lemon extract with some bourbon later tonight, just to see what happens...
    Ed
    Bourbon makes me happy.

    Go Fighters!

 

 

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