It’s perhaps no surprise that the best-selling cocktail at Alison Hillard’s Washington, D.C., bar is an Old-Fashioned—the bar is world-renowned for its whiskey selection. Customers may be surprised, however, by just how elevated this take on it is, with the call for oleo saccharum, an old-timey ingredient mostly used in punches, that really ups the citrus aromas. It manages to be extremely complex while never overshadowing the Knob Creek® Rye in the process. Hillard notes that though it’s a minor ingredient, the oleo saccharum makes a big impact, and thus the effort it takes to make it is well-rewarded.
- 2 parts Knob Creek® Rye
- ¼ part green Chartreuse oleo saccharum (see Editor’s Note)
- ⅛ part fresh ginger juice (see Editor’s Note)
- 3 dashes Regans' orange bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: lemon twist
- Combine ingredients in a mixing glass over ice and stir.
- Strain over a big cube in a double Old-Fashioned glass.
- Garnish with an expressed lemon twist.
Green Chartreuse oleo saccharum
(Makes 2 cups)
4 cups sugar
2 ounces green Chartreuse
1 to 2 cups water
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the rinds of the lemons and oranges, being careful not to get too much of the pith. Place the rinds and sugar into a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag and seal. Massage the mixture with your hands to warm the peels and pull the essential oils out of the rinds and into the sugar. Allow to sit overnight at room temperature. (Alternately, if you have the ability to vacuum-seal the mixture and sous-vide it at 120º F, you can shorten the process to an hour or so.) Empty the contents of the bag into a saucepan, removing the citrus peels. Douse the mixture with 2 ounces of green Chartreuse and lightly mix. Add 1 cup of water to start, place over low heat, and stir. Add more water at your discretion, until the sugar has fully dissolved. Be patient, as the less water you have to add, the stronger your end product will be. Be careful not to let the syrup come to a boil so as not to burn it. Chill before use. Keep leftover syrup refrigerated.
If you don’t have access to fresh ginger juice, muddling a few slices of fresh ginger in the mixing glass will add a similar, albeit softer, flavor profile. Be sure to fine-strain the ginger out of your final cocktail.