Old Fashioned Week is this week from Oct 15- 24th. In their 2nd year of collaboration, Elijah Craig and Punch have teamed up to encourage us to celebrate the cocktail while supporting a cause, this year by supporting the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation. I teamed up with Elijah Craig to share some ways you can celebrate the timeless cocktail by getting out in your community to participate in Old Fashioned Week both at bars and at home. If you’re celebrating from home this time, check out my Charred Pineapple Coffee Old Fashioned recipe to enjoy with a friend (or solo) among the jungle of plants you may have accumulated over the pandemic.
This post is in partnership with Elijah Craig. Thank you for supporting the brands who support me and keep the drinks flowing.
ELIJAH CRAIG OLD FASHIONED WEEK
Old Fashioned Week started as a chance for you to get together with friends and enjoy unique variations on the Old Fashioned at local bars and restaurants. I’m slowly returning to visiting bars with a friend or two and finding these moments together to be even more special than before. And having someone else shake up a cocktail for me again feels like such a luxury! I visited Blackbird bar here in San Francisco in the Mission/Castro area to grab an Old Fashioned from Matt Grippo. (Matt even inspired this Apple Cider Old Fashioned cocktail I made here. (Matt even inspired this Apple Cider Old Fashioned I made here ). Blackbird has long been a favorite hangout, especially when I lived down the street in the city. It is the perfect neighborhood bar with pool tables and cozy, moody vibes alongside elevated cocktails that make it a destination, too. They have a parklet for warm sunny days and evening people-watching. Matt mixed up a smoky bacon Old Fashioned (a.k.a. a Benton’s Old Fashioned) with Small Batch and Barrel Proof for an extra kick. He added a unique touch with the garnish: a little clove pocket tucked into the orange peel, that I found perfect with the clove notes I get in Elijah Craig.
This annual celebration of the classic drink was started by Elijah Craig to raise funds for charity while raising a glass for a cause. The charity Elijah Craig is supporting in 2021 for Old Fashioned Week is the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF). fter a crushing year-and-a-half of closures and lost work through the ongoing pandemic, the hospitality industry has suffered immeasurably. RWCF’s mission is supporting workers as essential partners in creating prosperity for all through a transformation of the hospitality industry to help build businesses based on a foundation of equity, respect and sustainable wages. is supporting workers as essential partners in creating prosperity for all through a transformation of the hospitality industry to help build businesses based on a foundation of equity, respect, and sustainable wages. They contribute to fully equitable workplaces with sustainable pay, fruitful career paths, and support for people’s mental health challenges—so that restaurant businesses and workers thrive together.
To participate in OFW at a bar this year
If you’re venturing out to bars, restaurants, and parklets and want to support them during Old Fashioned week, Elijah Craig has a convenient locator on their site that you should check out. Find local bars near you participating in OFW.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN Old Fashioned Week AT HOME
IIf you prefer to celebrate milestones and events at home, you can participate in Old Fashioned Week, too! Roll up your sleeves for happy hour and try your hand at mixing up your own Old Fashioned at home (the Charred Pineapple Coffee Old Fashioned is a great option for a tropical twist). While you sip, take a pic, share, tag, and you’ll support the cause. You can also make a tax-deductible donation directly through their website.
For celebrating Old Fashioned Week at home, grab a bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch for mixing up your own new fashioned or classic Old Fashioned. Once it’s ready, snap a photo in all its golden glory and:
Follow @ElijahCraig on Instagram and Tag them in your Old Fashioned photos and videos.Use the hashtag #OldFashionedWeekFor every image that you share, Elijah Craig will donate $5 to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (up to $100,000)
I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled on the #OldFashionedWeek hashtag on Instagram. Looking forward to bookmarking your creative variations to stir up this week!
HISTORY OF THE OLD FASHIONED
The Old Fashioned is often the entry point cocktail for many people mixing drinks at home and ordering at bars. It’s approachable with only 3 ingredients while still having a lot of flavor and complexity. The combination of whiskey, aromatic bitters, and sugar creates a beautiful drink that has stood the test of time. As the name implies, The Old Fashioned has a lot of history. Credited with being the first spirited beverage labeled as a “cocktail”, the Old Fashioned is the archetype for all cocktail recipes. The first printed mention of the drink is believed to be 1806 and hit its initial sipping stride in the 1880’s.
Mixing a spirit with sugar, bitters & ice (water) together created a vastly different drinking experience and was an alluring option compared to just sipping spirits neat at the time. Its name was not given from its inception, rather gained over time as new cocktails were mixed up, to differentiate it from the increasing number of mixed drinks being offered, devoted drinkers labeled it “that old-fashioned drink.” After a resurgence in the mid-century with more elaborate entertaining at home and affluence for some post-WWII to be able to frequent happy hours and dinners out, it sprung back into the imbibing public’s purview. The recipe becomes a bit muddled over the decades (literally getting a fruit cocktail concoction muddled into the drink), and then pared back to its original, simplistic glory in the late 90’s/early 2000s. The Old Fashioned’s base spirit can vary, but the 20th century and modern iteration is best known for using Bourbon. It holds its own on any cocktail menu today and has been riffed on countless times. It’s called a classic for a reason.
CHARRED PINEAPPLE OLD FASHIONED RIFF
My recipe, like the Old Fashioned itself, is a call back to firsts. Elijah Craig was the first to char new oak barrels for aging his whiskey. This changed the game and led to what was eventually known as Bourbon. Barrel-aging plays a pivotal role in giving whiskey the characteristics that are essential for Bourbon. Elijah Craig Bourbon is made from 78% corn, a higher percentage than some others on the market. The smaller amount of rye in the mash lends a sweeter, less spice-heavy Bourbon. It’s then aged in level char 3 barrels for years. Vanilla, caramel, nutty, chocolate and baking spices notes make you want to savor each sip.
The charred pineapple syrup I whipped up for this Old Fashioned is a nod to the ingenuity of using new charred barrels for aging whiskey back in the day. It also adds beautiful caramelized notes. I find coffee and pineapple to be a delightful culinary combination, but coffee can dominate and overwhelm other nuanced flavors in a drink. To let the notes from Elijah Craig shine through more, but still get a subtle toasty coffee flavor, I added whole coffee beans right into the mixing glass ( read more about that here.) This adds a slight hint of coffee to your Old Fashioned. The smokey, caramelized pineapple plays off of the caramel, chocolate and nutty notes of the Bourbon and coffee beautifully. Cheers to Old Fashioned Week!
Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week & Charred Pineapple Coffee Old Fashioned
Coffee and pineapple are dynamic flavor combination in drinks, but coffee can dominate and overwhelm other nuanced flavors in a drink. Adding whole coffee beans right into the mixing glass, this adds a slight hint of coffee to your Old Fashioned. The smokey, caramelized pineapple plays off of the caramel, chocolate and nutty notes of the Bourbon and coffee beautifully.
2 oz Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
1/4 oz charred pineapple syrup (recipe here)
6 coffee beans
1 dash aromatic bitters
garnish: pineapple leaves, cherry, orange peel
Add Elijah Craig bourbon, pineapple syrup, bitters and coffee beans into a mixing glass. Stir with ice for 30 seconds. Strain the drink into an old fashioned glass. Express orange peel over glass and discard. Garnish with pineapple leaves and cherry.
Charred Pineapple Syrup : 1 pineapple, sliced | 5 tbsp brown sugar – 1/2 tsp per side | 2 cups water | 3/4 cup sugar
Cut pineapple into 1/2 inch slices. Heat grill pan on medium high. add brown sugar coated pineapple slices grill for 10 mins on the first side. Flip and grill for 6-8 minutes on the other side. Removed from the grill. Slice in quarters. Blend pineapple with water and sugar until smooth . Staring through a fine mesh strainer into a jar. Store in the fridge for 2 weeks.
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