Recipe Corner: Hungerford’s Tavern Old Fashioned

old-fashionedI have to admit that if I’m in the mood for a stiff drink, I usually just take it straight. I have a few cocktail books and I obsessively watch Drinks Tube, but on the rare occasion I want to make a recipe, I’m usually missing a key ingredient. Apparently my liquor cabinet is way too meager for… just about anything?

I also hate it when certain drinks become fads without me realizing it. After Sideways came out, everyone seemed to want to drink pinot noir, which made me angrily order merlot whenever I went out to eat. I realize I need to get over myself.

Anyway, all of this brings me to the old fashioned. I saw Rich Hunt make it on Drinks Tube and despite the fact that I did not have any bitters in the house and despite the fact that it was popular because of Mad Men, I really wanted to try it.

I am being a bit bold in calling this Hungerford’s Tavern old fashioned. My recipe is basically a tweaked version of Hunt’s recipe. But it took a lot of trial and error… a lot of trial and error… to get it just right. Plus it uses bourbon from Rockville’s Twin Valley Distillers, so I think the name fits. (One of Rockville’s original names was Hungerford’s Tavern, you see.) I’m using Angostura bitters, though, because as far as I know, no one is making Rockville bitters. Yet.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Twin Valley Bourbon Whiskey
  • A slice of orange peel
  • 3 dashes of bitters
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Ice cubes
Instructions
Measure the bourbon into a measuring cup with a lip. Curl up the orange peel and add it to the bourbon. Let the peel steep in the bourbon for as long as you can possible stand it.

Splash three dashes of bitters into the bottom of a highball glass. Add the sugar and just enough bourbon to coat the sugar. Stir until the sugar has mostly dissolved.

Add a couple of ice cubes and a little more bourbon and stir for several seconds, until the ice cubes have begun to melt a little. Add a couple more ice cubes and a little more bourbon and stir for several seconds more. Repeat until all of the whiskey has been added. Adjust the taste by adding a splash of bourbon if needed.

Give the orange peel a little squeeze over the drink, then use it to garnish.

Twin Valley Distillers Bourbon Whiskey

The Distillery
Twin Valley Distillers

The Location
Rockville, MD

The Spirit
Single Cask Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

I am not much of a liquor drinker. I prefer wine with dinner and if I’m looking for a drink after work or during a sporting event, I reach for a beer. But I’ve always had a fondness for whiskey and its variations. I generally like bourbon the most, because I like my whiskeys sweet. It’s something I know about myself and I am comfortable with it.

For Christmas a couple of years ago, my wife got me tickets to a tour of Twin Valley Distillers, which is located walking distance from our house. Because Rockville is amazing.

Twin Valley’s bourbon is right up my alley. It smells of kettle corn. While it has a harsh twang of alcohol when you first taste it, that quickly gives away to a rich, sweet caramel corn flavor. It is great to sip on a cold winter’s night, but it is also versatile enough to stand up to any whiskey cocktail concoction that you mix it into.

I am not one to drink local just because it’s local. I do expect quality as well. And I can tell Twin Valley has pride in its work.

Cutlass Vienna-Style Lager

The Brewery
Heavy Seas

The Location
Baltimore, MD

The Beer
Cutlass Vienna-Style Lager

I love Vienna. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot time there, and it is a wonderful city. It has a rich history, wonderful art, gorgeous architecture, cozy neighborhoods, and delicious food. And of course, there’s all the effervescent, flavorful beer.

So while I am excited to see Heavy Seas has a Vienna-style lager, I am a little bit wary, because it has a lot to live up to. (Unless they mean it’s a Vienna, Virginia-style lager, which I am reasonably certain is not a significant thing.)  I am not saying I am an expert, unless expertise is measured by liters consumed, but I feel like I know a good example of Austrian beer when I taste it.

Cutlass has a light, sweet flavor and pleasant carbonation. The more I gulped it and the more that subtle wheat flavor swirled around my mouth and throat, the more I wanted to drink. For me, moreishness is the real test of its Viennaness.

To be sure, I had a bottle while having a plate of Käsespätzle and it matched up really well. I’m not saying I was transported to an Alpine gasthaus or anything (because Vienna is not really in the Alps), but it’s nice to know I don’t have to overpay for Steigl the next time Austria wins the Eurovision Song Contest.

Heavy Seas should not be selling this in 12-ounce bottles. They need to sell it exclusively in half-liter cans to be properly Austrian.

Stray notes: If you ever plan to go to Vienna, and you totally should, you need to make your way to Fischerbräu. They may terrific beer and while they are a little off the beaten path, they are easily accessible via public transportation. You’re gonna need to use the public transportation when you leave.

If you are going for commercially available Austrian beer, I like Ottakringer and Zipfer, but it’s probably best to ask local folks what they prefer. They will have strong opinions and will also probably tell you not to drink Stiegl. Stiegl is the Budweiser of Austria (yet is still better than Budweiser).

Born Bohemian

The Brewery
Denizens Brewing Co.

The Location
Silver Spring, MD

The Beer
Born Bohemian

Look, I don’t want to come off as some sort of Denizens fanboy, but since I reviewed Denizens’ Lowest Lord back in February, it has become my favorite beer. I have consumed a goodly amount of it.

But just as one cannot live on kung pao tofu alone, one can also not live off of one beer. Moreover, as much as I love English-style bitters, I like the Middle European-style lagers and Pilsners even more. The Czech Republic (or Czechia, as the Czech government is aiming to be called from here on out) is probably Europe’s beer central, which, when you consider Germany and Austria are right next door, is saying something.

So Denizens doing a Czech-style Pilsner is sort of gutsy. It has a lot to live up to.

Born Bohemian has a yeasty nose and a refreshing, sweet wheat flavor that lingers. It is tastes like a classic Pilsner and it is super delicious. In fact, Czechs would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and their native, local beer. And they would probably like this more and feel so guilty about it they would cry into their next three pints of it.

So maybe I do want to come off as some sort of Denizens fanboy.

Homestead Hefeweizen

The Brewery:
Milkhouse Brewery

The Location:
Mt. Airy, MD

The Beer:
Homestead Hefeweizen

Apparently, Mt. Airy is a beer wonderland. After kicking off this blog with the Farmer’s Daughter from Red Shedman Farm Brewery, I am moving onto Milkhouse Brewery’s Homestead Hefeweizen. What I really need to do is drive out to Mt. Airy, which is a scant 40 minutes from my house and has all the beers.

This one right here, this Homestead Hefeweizen, has a sweet, yeasty aroma. The first sip has a slightly orange, slightly cardamom flavor is apparently what I think yeast tastes like. That gives way to a strong wheat finish. The body is rich and creamy. It is basically everything you want from this classic German-style beer. It’s gorgeous.

Now I need to find something from Frey’s Brewing Company, and my tour of Mt. Airy will be complete.

Balls to the Wall American Pale Ale

The Brewery:
Oliver Brewing Company

The Location:
Baltimore, MD

The Beer:
Balls to the Wall American Pale Ale

I have some affection for Oliver Brewing Company, which proclaims its love of heavy metal on its website. As an old metalhead myself, I can appreciate any beer named after Accept’s Balls to the Wall. (I am assuming…)

Balls to the Wall has a hoppy, bitter aroma. It has that grapefruit flavor that comes from American-style pale ales, but it also has a surprisingly smooth finish. The bitter aftertaste on the back of the throat lingers. It’s not too shabby.

Of course, Oliver Brewing Company was founded to do English-style ales, so I probably should have started with that. But come on, everyone: UDO.

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Mysterium

mysterium-duclawThe Brewery:
DuClaw Brewing Co.

The Location:
Bel Air, MD

The Beer:
Mysterium Belgian Spiced Ale

I will admit that I was prompted to snag a bottle of Mysterium by the fact that I am a huge fan of the board game Mysterium. Yet I didn’t drink Mysterium while playing Mysterium. I make no sense sometimes.

Anyway, the spices in this spiced ale are cardamom and chamomile. I definitely smelled the chamomile when I poured Mysterium into my glass. However, the taste was all cardamom.

To be honest, as much as I like cardamom as a spice, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that it flavored the ale. I am not some sort of spice savant. My point is, the cardamom wasn’t just an aromatic: I definitely tasted it in the beer.

Although the body was fizzy and wispy, overall Mysterium is a flavorful beer, and it lingered in a pleasant way after each gulp. It wouldn’t be a beer I would buy on a regular basis, but it is something I enjoyed for a lark.

Sugarloaf Mountain 2015 Pinot Grigio

sugarloaf-mountain-pinot-grigioThe Winery:
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards

The Location:
Dickerson, MD

The Wine:
2015 Pinot Grigio

I feel like I’ve been remiss in exploring Maryland’s wineries because I’ve spent so much time gallivanting around Virginia. To rectify the situation, I went to Belby Discount Beer & Wine to pick up a bottle of Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard’s 2015 Pinot Grigio.

I got a citrusy, grassy aroma with the initial pour. The first taste is of tart grape. That tartness goes away a bit when it decants, and a little sweetness creeps in. I thought the body was a bit thin, but not detrimentally so. Altogether, a perfectly drinkable glass of wine. I’m looking forward to heading up to Sugarloaf Mountain and trying some more.

Balt Altbier

balt-altbierThe Brewery:
Union Craft Brewing

The Location:
Baltimore, MD

The Beer:
Balt Altbier

I am normally not a fan of altbier, a Westphalian style of beer popular in Düsseldorf. The ones I’ve had were a little too bitter and a little too syrupy in texture for my tastes.

But hey, maybe the ones I’ve had before just sucked. Maybe Union Craft Brewing is just better at making beer and its Balt Altbier would win me over.

How about, “Yeah?”

Balt has a rich, gorgeous brown color (yes, brown can be gorgeous) and a strong, malty aroma. It has a taste of bitter chocolate, but it does not have a bitter taste. In fact, it is pretty mild. Its body is smooth and creamy, not syrupy. I thought it was a thoroughly delightful beer.

I wish I bought more…