An Old Fashioned Visit
Lu recently mentioned dinner with myself, my mother Ella Brennan, and Dale DeGroff. It was a “spirited” meal…complete with singing in the main dining room of Commander’s Palace. But with the robust personalities at the table, that was to be expected. Not to mention Lally carrying on at the table next to us.
Mom was sharing stories with Dale about her old friend Trader Vic. Dale convinced that Trader Vic was one of the great “cocktailians” and Mom assuring Dale that he was also a great restaurateur. The creator of the original “theme restaurant,” Trader Vic was also a pilot who flew my Mom around the whole coast of California on his airline TWA (that’s Teeny Weenie Airline.) Now folks, this was 1950-something and no one we knew of had their own airplane. Of course, the fact that the plane was unpressurized and everyone was smoking and drinking explains a lot about my brother. Actually, he’s smart and charming – so there!
The lagniappe of the evening for me was three people all making Old Fashioneds for my mother to blind taste. I said “Mom, you have extraordinary bartenders making Old Fashioneds for you – Gina Lee, a top CP bartender who often makes your cocktails, as well as our superstar Lu and America’s best bartender Dale DeGroff.” Her response, “Well, they have to learn sometime.” I can’t wait to be 83 so I can say whatever I want.
So guess who won? Easy money – Dale. So this is how Dale DeGroff makes the Old Fashioned that Ella Brennan loves:
1 Teaspoon sugar
2 Dashes Angostura bitters
2 Orange slices
2 Maraschino cherries
Water or soda water
2 Ounces Bourbon
In the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass, carefully muddle the sugar, Angostura, one orange slice, one cherry and a splash of water or soda.
Remove the orange rind and add the Bourbon, ice, and water or soda.
Garnish with the remaining orange slice and cherry.