2021 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 12 – Pomegranate Vodka Old Fashioned. Old Fashioneds aren’t just for whisky. This foundational cocktail format works beautifully with award-winning Georgian Bay Vodka and muddled orange peel and pomegranate arils. Stirred to silky smooth perfection and double-strained.
The original definition of the word “cocktail” first appeared in print in The Balance and Columbian Repository, the paper’s editor wrote that it was a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar; it was also referred to at the time as a bittered sling and is essentially the recipe for an old fashioned.
This post is sponsored by Georgian Bay Spirit Co.
An “Old Fashioned” is often shorthand for, “Old Fashioned Whisky Cocktail,” and earned its name as being one of the earlier styles of cocktails before advanced bartending techniques supplanted simpler drinks. By the 1860s cocktails often featured liqueurs and other ingredients, drinkers seeking libations more akin to those from earlier in the century would request an, “Old Fashioned.”
But you can make an Old Fashioned style cocktail with any base spirit. The typical formula is 12 parts spirit (2 ounces), 1 part sweetener (1 tsp of either syrup or a sugar cube), a couple dashes of bitters, stirred to perfect dilution and garnished with a citrus peel.
When working with a spirit-forward cocktail formula like the Old Fashioned, it’s of the utmost importance that you start with top-notch spirits. In this case, I’m using one of the best vodkas on the market – crafted in small batches right here in Ontario. Georgian Bay Vodka is a unique blend of two-row malted barley vodka and corn-based vodka.
Its unique notes of cereal, spice, and vanilla work beautifully with tart pomegranate, citrus oils from muddled orange peel, and a splash of nutmeg syrup.
Georgian Bay Vodka was recognized as one of the top ten vodkas in the world by Forbes magazine in August 2020. Priced at $34.95 at the LCBO, Georgian Bay Vodka is the definition of affordable luxury – I cannot recommend this spirit highly enough.
This recipe is not an Old Fashioned in the truest sense of the term – it’s more of a Wisconsin Old Fashioned. The Wisconsin Old Fashioned is differentiated from the original in that it’s made with brandy and features muddled fruit, and a splash of either lemon-lime soda or sparkling water. Rarely found outside the state, Wisconsin Old Fashioned have a a special place and rich history in the Midwest – informed largely by the many German immigrants who lived in the state in the 1800s, their love of brandy, and the subsequent arrival of Prohibition making quality distilled spirits hard to come by.
While it would be hard to convince me to add 7Up or Sprite to an Old Fashioned, of any kind, a bit of muddled orange peel and pomegranate arils go a long way to building flavour in this cocktail and I wanted to preserve the silky mouthfeel of the classic Old Fashioned by stirring this drink to the perfect dilution and temperature.
The end result is elegant and balanced, allowing the refined flavour and texture of Georgian Bay Vodka to shine through.
Join me on my Instagram Stories tonight at 5 pm Eastern for a step-by-step walk-through on how to make this cocktail.
Pomegranate Vodka Old Fashioned
Old Fashioneds aren’t just for whisky. This foundational cocktail format works beautifully with award-winning Georgian Bay Vodka and muddled orange peel and pomegranate arils. Stirred to silky smooth perfection and double-strained.
- 2 lengths orange peel
- 1 tsp pomegranate arils
- 1 tsp nutmeg syrup
- 1 tsp pomegranate juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 oz Georgian Bay Vodka
- Garnish: orange peel
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 whole nutmegs quartered
Add orange peel, pomegranate arils, and nutmeg syrup to a mixing glass. Muddle until juice has been extracted from pomegranate arils.
Add remaining ingredients and stir over ice until well-chilled.
Strain into a double rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Express citrus oils from orange peel onto the surface of the drink. Rub the peel around the lip of the glass and drop into the drink for garnish.
Combine sugar, water, and nutmeg in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, let sit at room temperature overnight for a more intense flavour.
Store syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.