The Old Fashioned has many positive attributes. It’s easy to make. It’s the perfect antidote to a chilly evening. And when it’s made properly, it is devoid of any cloying sweetness.
As with many classic cocktails, everyone seems to have their preferred way to make an Old Fashioned. We’ve enjoyed experimenting with recipes in the past with good results (like the time we added pomegranate liqueur, and when we turned it into a delicious summer concoction), so when Charlotte, North Carolina-based distillery Doc Porter’s debuted their bourbon in Fall 2016, we were excited to try it in our favorite winter libation.
Owner and head distiller Andrew Porter wanted to use all local ingredients in the product to give it a unique regional flavor, so his team considered what grew best in North Carolina. After rounds of experimentation, they landed on a formula comprised of 60 percent corn, 30 percent wheat, and 10 percent malted barley. The fact that wheat is the second-largest ingredient after corn, which by law must make up at least 51 percent of bourbon, is what gives the bourbon its “high wheat” distinction.
The small-batch bourbon is made from ingredients sourced from within a couple of hours of Charlotte; the corn and wheat are from a farm in Marshville, about an hour away, and the malted barley comes from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, just over two hours from the distillery. It’s aged in small barrels (so far all the bourbon released has been aged in 15-gallon containers), which allows for more interaction with the oak, so the aging time is greatly reduced. Bottled at 90 proof, it’s full of flavor with a welcome smokiness balanced by notes of chocolate and cherry.
We sampled Doc Porter’s Bourbon in an Old Fashioned recipe provided by Andrew. The components are more or less what one would expect, allowing the North Carolina-bred spirit to take the front seat and bring the unique flavor, and we were delighted with the drink. Here’s how to make it at home:
Doc Porter’s Bourbon Old Fashioned
2 ounces Doc Porter’s Single Barrel Bourbon
4 dashes bitters (preferably Crude’s “Sycophant” orange and fig bitters)
2″ orange peel
1 brown sugar cube
Optional: cherry for garnish
In a heavy rocks glass place a brown sugar cube on top of the section of orange peel. Dash the sugar cube with bitters, then muddle the cube into the orange peel. Add Doc Porter’s Bourbon and top with ice. Stir for 2 minutes. Garnish with cherry if desired.