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Archivist Build: Winter Old Fashioned

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Context, Notes, History:

Bourbon. Bitters. Sugar. Water. Easy enough to be endless in its permutations. Simple enough to make execution difficult. The name's a petition. "Bartenders, stop over-complicating things with all these newfangled vermouths and liqueurs. Put the booze in the glass. And, well, just sand down the roughest edge." So simple, in fact, that originally, it didn't even require whiskey. Your old fashioned could come with gin, rum, whatever - just keep the mixing simple. Here we are: full circle. Every bartender in America has a signature recipe. Half the time the flavors in the glass have very little to do with your past experiences with or expectations for an Old Fashioned. Yes, this recipe is part of the problem.

Archival Mods:

I'm going to attack the mod from the bitters first, starting with a combo of alpine amaro and Winter Forest bitters, then work up from there. The bitters was made from eastern white cedars that I planted 25 years ago as a privacy wall in my parents' backyard.

In addition to cedar berries and leaves, there's some cassia and green cardamom to crank holiday baking spice. I'll include a recipe below. The evergreen and spice notes pair well with the mint chocolate/menthol driven Braulio. Splash of maple syrup provides some buttery depth. For the bourbon, I like to fully commit to the mint and spice notes by selecting something that compliments barrel char sweets with herbal and mint notes - Four Roses OESF recipe. To cap off the nose, I utilize the Winter Forest bitters as a misto by adding some extra dilution and popping it into an atomizer.

Home Hack:

Four Roses Small Batch Select is a great sub if you can't get your hands on a F yeast recipe Private Selection. The SmB Select is fruit driven and light with pleasant herbals to offset the maple and Braulio. As for the Winter Forest bitters, there's a wide variety of cedar bitters out there or you can follow my ~30 day recipe below.


2 oz Bourbon

2-3 dashes Angostura

1 Sugar Cube

1 splash Water

Muddle sugar cube in bitters and water. Add bourbon. Pour over ice. Express orange.

Archivist Build:

¼ oz Braulio

¼ oz Maple Syrup

4 vials Winter Forest Bitters

Long stir. Strain over a big rock. Winter Forest misto (2x).

Home Hack:

2 oz Four Roses Small Batch Select

¼ oz Braulio

¼ oz Maple Syrup

4 vials Winter Forest

Medium stir. Strain over a big rock. Winter Forest misto (2x).

Winter Forest Bitters:

4 oz Cedar Tincture (3 parts Cedar Leaves, 1 part Cedar Berries, 20 parts 190 proof Everclear)

~30 day infusion (to taste)

1 oz Green Cardamom Tincture (1 part crushed Cardamom Pods, 5 parts 190 proof Everclear)

~14 day infusion (to taste)

1 oz Cassia Tincture (1 part crushed Cassia, 5 parts 190 proof Everclear)

~14 day infusion (to taste)

3 oz Water (to taste)

For the Winter Forest misto, instead of adding 3 oz of water, double the amount to 6 oz and put it in an atomizer to spray.

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