It’s five o’clock somewhere.
And sometimes, at the end of a long cold week, you just want a drink. For me, nothing hits the spot quite like a well balanced cocktail.
Dan and I are big fans of the craft cocktail movement that’s taken hold in Chicago. Our liquor cabinet is actually two cabinets because the first one ran out of room. We love discovering new ways to make use of the interesting assortment of spirits, liqueurs, amari, and bitters that seem to multiply in two’s and three’s every time we step out to shop for one new cocktail ingredient.
This take on the classic old-man drink, the old fashioned, hits all the right buttons. It’s a spirit forward cocktail (read: boozy) with apple-y notes from the calvados, walnuttiness from the nocino, rounded sweetness from the maple syrup, warm baking spice notes from the angostura, and a hint of brightness from the lemon peel. It’s comforting and boozy enough that you’ll want to drink it slowly. (And it’s also a great use of the bottle of nocino that’s been kicking around on our shelf for months.)
If you like the darker liquors (whiskey, brandy, rum) you’d probably also be a fan of calvados, also known as apple brandy, and nocino (prononced no-chee-no), a traditional Italian walnut liqueur.
We made this for a friend’s birthday dinner in December, and it was a hit with everyone who had one. It’s become a regular in our cocktail rotation this winter.
I limit my alcohol intake for health reasons, which raises the bar for what I consider “worth it”. This one easily clears that bar. If you are looking for a new winter cocktail, give this one a shot.
Walnut Old Fashioned
- 2 ounces calvados
- 1/4 ounce nocino
- 1/4 ounce maple syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Chill an old fashioned glass.
- Combine all of the ingredients except the lemon peel in a mixing tin and stir with ice until cold. Strain into the glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with lemon peel.