When the leaves start falling and a chill hits the air, it’s time to hunker down with a warm, cozy, soothing drink. Or, a really effing amazing iced cocktail. Enter the Walnut Old Fashioned.
For this, we turn to the lovely Anu Elford. She co-owns Rob Roy — easily one of the best cocktail bars in Seattle — along with award winning tiki bar Navy Strength, recently named Best New Bar in America, and its sibling beer bar No Anchor, with her husband Chris. She’s also a big fan of cold weather cocktails:
I always think of apples and roasted nuts alongside drinks that you can take your time with in the fall. The Walnut Old Fashioned has always been one of my favorite Rob Roy drinks. It makes an appearance on the Cocktail Advent Calendar, but I start ordering them right about this time of year.
According to Anu, one of the first definitions found for a cocktail states that it should contain sugar, water, bitters, and a spirit. “This is the basis for an Old Fashioned, typically made with whiskey, bitters, sugar, and water (in the form of ice and dilution), but there are accounts of many old cocktails being made with brandy,” she says.
“Basically, whatever was around and available was used. At Rob Roy we make Old Fashioneds using any aged spirit of choice — tequila, scotch, rum, etc. So although whiskey, particularly Bourbon, is the most common way to make an Old Fashioned, any aged spirit can be used.”
(Watch Anu make a classic Old Fashioned at Rob Roy)
Here now is Anu’s recipe for one of her all-time favorite drinks using apple brandy (calvados).
Walnut Old Fashioned
- 2 oz. calvados
- 1/4 oz. walnut liqueur (I use Haus Alpenz)
- 1/4 oz. demerara syrup (2:1)
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Tools: mixing glass, bar spoon, large cube of ice
- Glass: Old Fashioned
- Garnish: lemon twist
The easiest way to make the drink is to first place a large ice cube into the glass, add all other ingredients, and stir for about 10 seconds to get it nice and cold with some dilution.