The Unix Oriental
Placed quite appropriately in the “Security” category – my favorite Oriental cocktail recipe. Distinguishing it from the classic preparation, are absence of sweet vermouth and lime juice, as well as addition of just a couple of humble but crucial ingredients.
Without any doubt, the best whiskey for the job is Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 120 Proof Barrel Select. And, yes, bourbon – not rye. Sorry. Regretfully, I polished off the remainder of my last bottle the other night. Rowan’s Creek Bourbon is an outstanding alternative, though.
Any common variety of preserved sour cherries would suffice. However, browsing through Amazon’s offerings I recently discovered Premium Cocktail Cherries by Traverse City Whiskey Co. and they added just the flavor I sought.
A popular ingredient is Cointreau – an orange-flavored triple sec liqueur produced in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, France. And I have nothing against it. Yet, I found Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur from Sicily a more desirable flavor.
The rest is simple: Angostura orange bitters, a cube of cane sugar, and a sprig of rosemary. And, of course, a 1957 maritime-themed Zippo lighter: can’t make a proper Oriental without one.
OK, enough talk. Place a cube of cane sugar in a large whiskey glass and add four dashes of bitters. A more common recipe calls for two dashes. I say four to account for the extra sweetness from the preserved cherries that are coming next.
Let it sit for a minute and then use a blunt instrument (preferably the butt of a Modèle 1892 revolver) to muddle the sugar.
Place a few (four, if you must ask) preserved sour cherries in the glass, followed by a large ice cube. A massive ice cube.
Don’t waste any time taking photos and pour about 1.5oz of the orange liquor. You may or may not want to add a little bit of freshly-squeezed blood orange juice. Just a little bit: half-an-ounce or so.
Give the mix a quick stir and top it off with at least 3oz of bourbon. I did say use a large whiskey glass.
Finally, an oddball ingredient – a sprig of rosemary. Use a lighter to char it delicately – don’t incinerate it – and place it in your cocktail elegantly.
An attractively curled orange peel is an option but is not strictly necessary: between the orange bitters and orange liquor, there’s already a rather strong orange theme going on and you have rosemary for garnish.
The cocktail is best enjoyed while composing a convoluted Bash script of dubious practical utility.