The provenance and importance of sturdy sipping cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, will never fade. Equally appropriate for contemplation or conversation, it's as authentic as it gets. Still, there is always room for slight improvement or improvisation, which has reaped a host of equally timeless variants from bartenders over the years, including drinks like the American Trilogy, the Fancy Free, the Old Green Hat, and this drink, the Saw Tooth, blending in an Alpine Italian amaro, Braulio.
Hidden behind the discrete, all-black entryway of a former boxing ring in Brooklyn, you'll find the origin of this drink, Featherweight, a bar bathed in the best lighting one could imagine. It's home to where former Weather Up barman Johnny De Piper and team serve up every classic in the book, as well as a select list of originals that offer a bit more adventure for guests. "Braulio tastes like biting a pine tree to me, so it makes me think of freshly cut trees, hence 'sawtooth'," says De Piper, explaining the impetus behind his drink and use of the once pharmaceutical spirit, Braulio, whose formula has been handed down for generations in Italy.
For those who embark to make this drink at home, one often overlooked secret to Old Fashioneds is to not over-dilute, or over-stir in other words. It's a drink that's built to last, and though drinks like the Saw Tooth can offer quite a kick out of the gate, the lemon and orange citrus oils are what temper and balance out the strong presence of alcohol, as the ice slowly succumbs to its environs. Remember that a well-chilled glass is also crucial to serving and keeping this drink at as low a temperature as possible. Try this one soon, and I'm sure you'll agree it has legs to stand with the best modern classics out there, though I can't guarantee you'll be standing too after one too many.
- 2 ounces Elijah Craig 12-year bourbon
- 1/2 ounce Braulio Amaro
- 1 brown sugar cube
- 2 dashes Fee's orange bitters
- Build ingredients in a rocks glass and stir with large format ice.
- Garnish with both orange and lemon peels.
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