I am sharing a cocktail today that was inspired by one of my favorite bars in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I knew I had to visit the speakeasy Florería Atlántico when I arrived because so many of my followers recommended this bar. Little did I know; it would be an inspiration for several drinks that I created for Beautiful Booze.
As I rang the bell from outside a flower shop I knew this was going to be a cool speakeasy experience. I walked through the flower shop, which by the way, was beautiful and imposed the most positively intoxicating aroma. Through an unmarked cold storage room door and down a dark stairwell, I was lead to this beautiful hidden bar. Unexpectedly on a Monday evening, the bar was packed and the atmosphere was fun and upbeat with the staff, locals, and excited tourists all happy to be in this place.
The cocktail menu was stunning and had a wide array of concoctions for almost anyone’s palate so I pulled up my seat at the bar and observed not only the room but also the cocktails. I was distracted while deciding on my cocktail choice by the bartender covering the inside of a glass with sugar and bitters. The entire glass was transformed into a crystal orange mess, what the heck was he doing?
A Torched Glass
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I couldn’t have imagined that it was only going to get even more interesting from there as he brought out a torch and began torching the entire inside of the glass. Quickly I scanned the menu trying to translate with my broken Spanish and found the description of this cocktail; it was an old fashioned that he was making and OMG everything about it sounded amazing. The bartender quickly torched the inside of the glass to caramelize the sugar and bitters for the old fashioned. This was one of the coolest cocktails I have ever seen and for an old fashioned lover this was the obvious choice for my next libation.
I couldn’t wait to replicate this method, so the next day (with a slightly sore head) I started working on a caramelized old fashioned variation. With St. Patrick’s day coming up and as I am currently in Buenos Aires and Bourbon is outrageously priced here I opted for my bottle of Irish Whiskey and created this caramelized Irish old fashioned.
Finding the Right Balance of Sugar, Bitters and Flame
Finding the right balance of sugar and bitters was for coating the glass was fairly easy but it can go too far one way or the other if you aren’t careful and the problem is that you don’t know if you’ve got it right until you taste the final outcome. Luckily I got this right on my third attempt. Another method with this style to get the taste right would be to just keep adding whiskey until it balances but if you’ve really gone overboard with the bitters and sugar you may end up with a rather large cocktail.
Anyway this was a beautiful cocktail in the end and I can’t wait to experiment with different bitters.
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- 4 dashes aromatic bitters
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Combine sugar and bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass
- Roll the glass until you have an even coating around all the interior surfaces
- Torch gently to burn bitters and caramelize the sugars (carefully)
- Allow glass to cool before adding ice so it doesn’t break
- Add ice sphere to glass (or normal ice)
- Top with Irish whiskey
- Stir gently for approximately 1 minute to amalgamate flavors