It took me months, but I finally got around to opening this bottle. First a little background. This was actually a gift, sent to me by a reader of the site, who happened to know I loved cocktails & bourbon. This bottle is unavailable here where I live, so it was extra special. It just so happens, I later got to know him a bit better, and I am now a reader of his site, and was even a guest on his podcast….what a weird world. If you are interested, you can check out his site HERE
Barchef is one of the top cocktail bars in Toronto, and for this bottling they partnered with Still Waters Distillery who make Stalk & Barrel whisky. I haven’t been to Barchef Toronto yet, but next time I am there I will check it out for sure. I have heard nothing but great things.
First of all, the bottle itself, is really a thing of beauty. It’s just got a real nice, simple, clean look to it. It was also shipped with a small orange aromatic spray (to mimic the orange zest/twist) which smelled absolutely delightful. A friend of mine joked he wanted to take it and use it as a cologne. One of the real nice things about this bottle, is the simplicity. Just pour over ice, give it a spritz or citrus twist, and you have a gourmet cocktail in your glass within seconds.
For the unacquainted, and old fashioned is a very straight forward, spirit heavy cocktail. Typically the ingredients and measurements are as follows:
2 oz Bourbon
1 bar spoon simple syrup
3-4 Dashes of bitters
Classic Old Fashioned’s just happen to be one of my favourite cocktails due to their simplicity, and also the fun in finding the right balance of sweetness and sharpness. If you aren’t a whisk(e)y drinker, or into booze heavy cocktails, a classic old fashioned may not be for you.The good news is, the Barchef Toasted Old Fashioned could be the perfect gateway drink for those wanting to get a bit more into cocktails.
The Barchef Toasted Old Fashioned is NOT your typical/classic Old Fashioned. In fact, after trying it, I was a bit surprised they marketed this as an old fashioned cocktail. First of all, it is very sweet, has a lot of added spices and flavours, and the bottle comes in at just 38.9% alcohol. According to the bottle, instead of simple syrup they use maple syrup (which is especially delicious), along with lots of other spices. As soon as you open the bottle, your nose will be hit with a heavy dose of anise/licorice. Unfortunately for me, much like Cilantro, this is one of the flavours I’ve never been able to get into.
The first sip is very sweet, and then you get hit with the spice. If I am being honest, the anise/licorice was too overpowering for me, and the drink was definitely too sweet for my liking. It almost tasted like a Jagermeister old fashioned with added sugar. I can definitely see the appeal of this drink for anyone who enjoys that Jager/Absinthe flavour, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I tried. I offered some of the bottle to some friends who were visiting, and they were pretty split on it. Some enjoyed it, while some (like me) couldn’t get past the overpowered flavour and seemingly lack of bite that you’d expect from an “Old Fashioned”.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my foray into cocktails over the last few years, it’s that everyone has different taste preferences. For example, I absolutely LOVE Campari, and Negoni’s but it is absolutely an acquired taste, typically you either love it or hate it – much like anise. So although I can’t say I’d pick up a bottle of this for myself if I saw it on the shelf, I would still recommend you give it a shot for yourself especially if you enjoy that jager, anise, licorice flavour profile. The simplicity and ease of making yourself a gourmet cocktail by just pouring it over ice, would make this a great drink for camping as well.
I’ve noticed recently there are a lot more options for pre made cocktails, but I’ve yet to find one I’ve really liked. If you have had this one, or some of the other pre made cocktails, let me know what you thought.