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(From left to right) Oskar Blues' Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Margarita, Sazerac — know the difference between the good and the bad. - OSKAR BLUES
  • Oskar Blues
  • (From left to right) Oskar Blues' Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Margarita, Sazerac — know the difference between the good and the bad.
It doesn’t take a master mixologist or years of bartending experience to make a superior classic cocktail. With the right ingredients and a proper recipe, it’s amazing what an at-home barkeep can do. Oskar Blues bartenders already have those years of experience — along with the 21 years the company’s been in the craft beer game — and it shows in their classic cocktail offerings.

When it comes to capturing the classic characteristics of cocktails, Oskar Blues General Manager Brian Mark says the first step is ditching the bottles of faux-flavored mixers and powdered concoctions — margarita’s don’t come from the grocery store freezer. You’re supposed to be able to taste the liquor in your liquor drinks, Mark says, any additional flavors are only meant to take a bite out of the booze. Classic cocktails have earned their reputations from time-tested recipes and techniques you can’t duplicate, but making them from scratch is just as easy.

The whiskey sour is a perfect example, a quintessential classic cocktail marred by cloyingly sweet yellow lemon/lime imposter. Because of that, it’s a drink everyone has a bad memory of. In a proper version like Oskar Blues’, the flavor of the whiskey playing off of lemon juice, enhanced with a touch of sweetness from simple syrup and a silky egg white finish, makes this drink good, but the technique is what makes it great (see recipe below) Like Mark says, the simplicity of a whiskey sour is what makes it a perfect cocktail.

It doesn't get any easier than Oskar Blues' Sazerac, the drink of New Orleans. - OSKAR BLUES
  • Oskar Blues
  • It doesn't get any easier than Oskar Blues' Sazerac, the drink of New Orleans.
It doesn’t get simpler than a sazerac, though perhaps the “z” in the name makes it somewhat intimidating for newcomers. A sazerac is an excellent neat drink that isn’t a martini — if you’re not making it at home to wow your guests, Mark says order it at the bar and impress your bartender. The traditional recipe calls for an absinthe coated glass, but St. George’s Absinthe Verte substitutes for the signature flavor. Pechard’s Bitters is the most important part of a sazerac — other than the booze, of course. Oskar Blues uses James Oliver Rye as the base of its offering, complimenting the spice and bitters with a dash of simple syrup and an expressed lemon peel — a balanced flavor fit for all seasons.

Balancing strong flavor profiles really is the name of the game when it comes to margaritas, too. You can throw together an artificially-flavored margarita slushies that’ll guarantee a hangover, or you could enjoy a fresh squeezed juice-laced tequila cocktail perfectly complimented with subtle sweetness. Oskar Blues’ is the latter, a perfect medley of lime juice, orange liquor (Cointreau), simple syrup, and a rim of salt. The anti-sweet and sour mix, this is just simple ingredients, respected.
Anytime is a good time for a margarita. - OSKAR BLUES
  • Oskar Blues
  • Anytime is a good time for a margarita.
There’s something about a good old fashioned that commands respect, but Mark says it’s been bastardized at the hands of the ready-mix phase — the result being all kinds of sickly sweet renditions. Oskar Blues pays this drink its due diligence. After all, it’s a go-to for everyone from Average American Joe to Dick The Man Draper. Mark says there are two ways to make a proper old fashioned. Oskar Blues’ most popular take starts with stirring Bulleit Rye, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters in a glass, topped with ice and finished with a Luxardo cherry. The second calls for bitters and a sugar cube, muddled and coating a glass, with ice, bourbon and the cherry coming in last. If you’re sipping something made any different you’re not drinking an old fashioned.

Classic cocktails are classic for a reason, and Oskar Blues has mastered them true-to-form. You can too with the slightest bit of effort — try starting with mark’s favorite, the whiskey sour, using Oskar Blues’ simple recipe: 
Master a classic whiskey sour with Oskar Blues' tried-and-true recipe. - OSKAR BLUES
  • Oskar Blues
  • Master a classic whiskey sour with Oskar Blues' tried-and-true recipe.

  • 2 ounces Bulleit Rye (or Distillery 291 Rye)
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice (hand juicer preferred)
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 Lemon wheel
  • 1 ea. Luxardo Cherry

Directions: Dry shake egg white and bourbon vigorously in Boston shaker (3-4 shakes to avoid a snotty drink); add lemon juice and simple syrup and ice to shaker and shake vigorously again for 15-30 seconds; Strain (fine mesh preferred) into glass with ice. The drink should have a foam head, and garnished with a lemon flag.

Brought to you by Oskar Blues.

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