Cocktail: Abruzzo Fashioned

This month's special tipple.


I’ll always have a soft spot for an Old Fashioned; it was the first cocktail I ever learned to make, and I felt it made me terribly sophisticated. In defence of my 20-something self though, there’s a reason it’s a classic, rugged and layered, with a not-so-subtle balance of rich booziness, sweetness and bitterness holding the whole thing aloft. I still love them, basically.

Abruzzo’s own take on the formula replaces several key ingredients, but doesn’t fundamentally deviate from what makes an old-fashioned so moreish. The whisky is still right up front, with some recipes even advising a peaty Islay number (and why not?). Standing in for the usual bitters though, we have Gentian grappa, bitter and aromatic, with a thickly acetic note that’s almost reminiscent of balsamic vinegar.

Bringing sweetness and a cherry note (I serve my old fashioned with a maraschino cherry, so this definitely works for me) we have the local Ratafia liqueur, made by macerating sour cherries in Montepulciano wine. Tastes as good as it sounds, honestly. Whisky-wise, I’ve gone for Ardbeg, as I think its savoury, barbequed meat peat smoke is just a brilliant match for the Ratafia’s sweet cherry.

INGREDIENTS: 50ml Ardbeg 10yo | 10ml Ratafia | 10ml Gentian grappa

METHOD: Take a good, heavy tumbler and drop in a large ice cube. This will chill the drink, but melt slowly to avoid diluting it. Pour over the whisky, Ratafia and grappa, and stir gently. Garnish with a slice of candied orange and serve. 

Share this article