Things to Read, Drinks to Drink: Big Machine + Old Grand-Dad Old Fashioned

Big Machine + Old Grand-Dad Old Fashioned

Victor Lavalle's Big Machine is one of the strangest and most interesting novels I've read in a long time. It's got a bit of everything: kidnapping, drug and alcohol use and abuse, violence, mysticism, Unsolved Mystery-esque creepiness, terrorism, sewer exploration, love, aphephobia, a religious cult and murder, daddy issues, mommy issues, janitorial work, cats, and, of course, redemption.

And because a major character named Adele carries a bottle of Old Grand-Dad in her ubiquitous green handbag, I thought we'd explore that spirit a bit. Yup, it's bourbon as you may have guessed, but I hadn't known until I looked into it that the old dude on the bottle is none other than the famous distiller Basil Hayden (inventor of his eponymous, delicious bourbon).

Old Grand-Dad was originally distilled by Hayden's grandson, Raymond Hayden, though today the brand is owned and manufactured by the Jim Beam company. And because it's getting chillier at night and because Mad Men is back on AMC, I felt it only appropriate to suggest an Old Grand-Dad Old Fashioned. For this particular take on the Old Fashioned we're getting, well, sort of Old Fashioned. As opposed to other variations of the drink (using brandy, for instance, and giving a hard muddle to an orange slice and cherry, perhaps topping with soda water or lemon-lime soda: I've heard this referred to as a "Wisconsin Old Fashioned," which, given my experience tending bar in Wisconsin, seems to hold up), we are making ours Don Draper-style. And by "we" I mean, check out Jeffrey Morgenthaler from Clyde Common in Portland, OR. He's got this sucker down.

1/2 oz. of a 2:1 simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 wide swath of orange peel (muddled lightly)
2 oz. Old Grand-Dad Bourbon.

If you have good cherries, toss one in. But don't screw up your flavor profile with a gnarly bar cherry. Blech.


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