Old Thyme Cocktail

Old Thyme cocktail and Coming Home - original watercolor by the Cocktail Artist
This is what happens when you can't leave well enough alone.  The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that's been around for a long time (hence the name), and it's one of those beautifully uncomplicated drinks. The classic version dates to the 1800's and it consists of rye or bourbon, a sugar cube, and bitters. In the mid 20th century the cocktail acquired a few accessories - including a cherry, orange and sometimes club soda. Traditionalists scoff at these late-to-the-party additions, but mixologists just can't help making changes. If you want the purist's take on the Old Fashioned take a look at the Old Fashioned 101 website.

Our Old Thyme replaces the sugar cube of the original version with a honey-thyme simple syrup. We also added both orange and aromatic bitters. This creates a drink that is deceptively simple. Use good quality rye, sip it slowly and it will reveal the layers of flavor. It's a great summer to fall transition cocktail.

If you want to step it up one more level, you can use smoked ice in the drink. Yes, we actually smoked water and froze it. We were making some ribs on the grill and had wood chips in there smoking, so we stuck an uncovered pan of filtered water inside the closed (and very smokey) grill and let it sit for about 20 minutes. We took the pan out, covered it to let the water cool a bit, poured it into a pitcher and let it cool down (covered) in the refrigerator. Then it's just a matter of pouring the smoked water into ice trays (those fancy spherical ones are nice) and you have ice cubes that will add a slight smokey essence to your cocktail.

We paired the Old Thyme Cocktail with an original watercolor painting that evokes the era when the Old Fashioned came to be. You regularly hear people say that the past was a simpler time. We're not completely convinced. It seems like it was pretty complicated getting from place to place when you had to hitch up a horse and buggy instead of just calling an Uber. Then again, we took a pretty simple (and perfectly good) cocktail and made it more complicated. So we suppose our Old Thyme, like life, is not as simple as it could be, but we are enjoying it all anyway.


Old Thyme Cocktail

2 1/2 ounces Rye (Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)
3/4 ounce thyme-honey simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 dashes aromatic bitters (Scrappy's Bitters)
2 dashes orange bitters (Scrappy's Bitters)

Pour rye, simple syrup, and both bitters into an old-fashioned glass and stir well. Add a large ice cube, swirl the glass and garnish with a lemon rind and a sprig of thyme.

The Old Thyme Cocktail and it's key ingredients

Thyme Simple Syrup

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1/2 cup (packed) of lemon thyme sprigs

Combine honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add thyme and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature and strain through a sieve. Put in a covered bottle and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

A watercolor sketch by the Cocktail Artist in burnt umber matches the Old Thyme Cocktail

Coming Home - original watercolor painting by The Cocktail Artist

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