Gin-Walnut Old Fashioned

We had our first pizza-cocktail Friday night in weeks last night–as I’ve mentioned before, I love this part of the week. Last week, we made pizza on Thursday because Friday night we’d be out celebrating my birthday (the big 4-1!); while still delicious, it wasn’t quite the same. The two Fridays before that, well, we were in Hawaii. Yeah, I know, poor me, right? But, it was still nice to have our ‘regular’ Friday night last night, and last night’s pizza was some of the best yet. It’s a wonderful end to the week–pjs, cocktails, pizza, wine, and a movie or tv series, with some pet snuggles thrown in. And, it’s fun to experiment with cocktails or sip on an old favorite.

This Friday’s cocktail was a bit of an experiment with flavors and a winding thought process. I started out wanting something with a berry finish, then decided to go a more savory route with nocino (green walnut liqueur) from Sidetrack Distillery. I thought I wanted bourbon but then I went with a malt barreled gin from Copperworks. If you’re in the Seattle area, or visiting in the future, you really should visit both of these distilleries. Sidetrack is outside of Seattle in Kent but worth the trip to see a true farm-to-bottle distillery. Their berry liqueurs are delicious and their nocino is one of my favorite things. And, their bottles are just beautiful.

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Cassis & Nocino from Sidetrack Distillery–the bottles & labels are so well done, fitting for the deliciousness they contain.
Copperworks Distilling company is located down on the waterfront–you can swing by for a tour on your way to the ferry terminal. They make a great gin and have a barrel-aged gin series using different barrels, like a barrel used previously to age port or malt whiskey, which produces some interesting gins. They will also soon bottle their first single malt whiskey! Both distilleries make fantastic small-batch products with all or mostly Washington-grown materials and have super nice, knowledgeable folks that love talking about the what they do. Seriously, visit these places and enjoy what they make!

Back to the cocktail experiment…I ended up with a gin-walnut old fashioned. Sounds odd, yes, but it’s super interesting and tasty. The cocktail is a bit on the dry, savory side with the gin, nocino, and aromatic bitters–a note on the bitters: I used a bitter from The Bitter Housewife in Portland, Oregon, but Angostura would work just as well. Also, feel free to adjust the gin/nocino ratio or add a smidge more simple syrup to suit your taste. If you experiment with my experiment, let me know how it goes!

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Gin-Walnut Old Fashioned

2 oz. Malt Barrel Gin
1 oz. Nocino
1/8 oz. Simple syrup
Few Dashes of Aromatic Bitters

Orange peel & cherry for garnish

  • Put everything but the orange peel & cherry in mixing glass.
  • Fill the glass with ice & stir with bar spoon (or chopstick) for about a minute.
  • Strain into a chilled rocks glass. Serve neat or with a large ice cube or ball; garnish with the peel & cherry.

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