There are times when I really want an Old Fashioned, but also am feeling the urge for a smooth gin drink. Granted, there’s the easy option, “Der, have an Old Fashioned and then a Boxcar. You’re set!” Sure, but sometimes, you don’t want two drinks (we call those Once-In-A-Blue-Moon nights in our house) — you just want that one drink that encapsulates all of the awesomeness of an Old Fashioned with the juniper-y, pleasant tones of gin. When that mood strikes you, make yourself an Old Fashioned Leap Year!
Let me state this upfront: I toyed with some portmanteau variations on that title, but none of them felt right. Old Leap Year. Leaping Old Fashioned. Old Year. Leap Fashioned. See? They all sound kinda silly. Hence, an Old Fashioned Leap Year. Or OFLY. Ok, that doesn’t really work either. Old Fashioned Leap Year it is!
If you couldn’t discern from that cunningly subtle title, an Old Fashioned inspired this Leap Year. The key ingredient in that inspiration? Barrel-aged gin.
Never had or heard of barrel-aged gin? We hadn’t either. That is until our good friends at Bluecoat sent some of their Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin our way. If you’ve not tried it, let me just put it like this: get some. It’s gin, but smoothed out and delicately seasoned (I’m 99% sure you can season booze). The flavor is akin to if some of your favorite whisky got a little too friendly with gin. Let your imagination run wild with that one.
With a classic Leap Year, you have gin, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth and lemon juice. Taking inspiration from that and the whisky notes in the Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin, we tossed out the lemon juice for freshly squeezed OJ and added in some bitters. Oh, and the simple syrup or sugar you normally find in the whisky counterpart? Kick him out for the sweet vermouth. Honestly, someone clearly designed these drinks to get together one day in cocktail bliss. Today is that day.
When you make those small tweaks it really is the perfect marriage of an Old Fashioned and a Leap Year. You’re still getting your gin notes, but complimented with your whisky underpinnings and lively citrus burst.
Oh, if you’re wondering, yes, this is the only time I’ll allow OJ in my Old Fashioned. All of you out there, if you’re calling it a straight, classic, Old Fashioned, stop muddling oranges, cherries and whatever strikes your fancy in it. Just stop it.
If you’re only having one drink, do yourself a favor and make it this one.
Now, onto the Old Fashioned Leap Year!
- 2 oz. barrel-aged gin
- ¼ oz. Grand Marnier
- ¼ oz. sweet vermouth
- ¼ oz. OJ
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Orange wedge
- Glass type: Old-fashioned
- Squeeze your OJ.
- Add barrel-aged gin, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth, OJ and bitters to your shaker with ice.
- Consider the greatness of an Old Fashioned plus gin.
- Add one impressive block of ice to your old-fashioned glass.
- Or a few small ones.
- Pour your freshly shaken cocktail into your glass.
- Savor the might of barrel-aged gin.