When we traditionally think of winter brews, blossomy mulled wines, peppery hot toddies and syrupy, custardy eggnogs feature heavily. But Hawksmoor’s Josh Reynolds has a different take on the Yuletide tipple: the Mince Pie Old Fashioned, a warming, fragrant alloy of earthy dessert flavours and honey-hued, indulgent whisky. “I wanted to use mince pie filling as a cocktail ingredient,” he says. “I love its depth of flavour, so pairing it with scotch was the natural next step.”
According to lore, the Old Fashioned – traditionally a bourbon cocktail coddled with sugar and enlivened with bitters – originated in 1880s’ Louisville, Kentucky, at the hands of Colonel James E Pepper, a local bourbon distiller who would take his soon-to-be-classic concoction to New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where it ripened into public consciousness.
Often seen as the antidote to the frivolous, fizzy, fruit-filled drinks that spread across menus throughout prohibition, the Old Fashioned stood out with its no nonsense assembly. Its popularity waned in the latter half of the 20th century, only to re-emerge with a vengeance in the 2000s, due in no small part to Mad Men’s rakish hero, Don Draper. “My version uses Chivas Regal instead of bourbon,” says Reynolds. “Its sweet, spiced notes lend themselves wonderfully to the mince pie flavour.”
Combining a homemade syrup and coffee infused Lillet Rouge – a French aperitif made from a blend of wine, fruits and herbs – the Mince Pie Old Fashioned demands absolute devotion: it takes time, preparation and meticulous attention to detail to craft this festive treat. But it’s worth it. “These ingredients add a touch of elegance,” says Reynolds. An unashamedly adult way to enjoy the festivities.
Photo By: Toby Keane
Mince Pie Old-Fashioned (Serves 2)
For The Whisky Mince Pie Syrup:
125g jar of mince pie filling
375ml sugar syrup
75ml Chivas Regal 12 year
For The Coffee Infused Lillet Rouge:
200g fresh coffee beans
250ml of Lillet Rouge
For The Cocktail:
80ml Chivas Regal 12 year
40ml prepared whisky mince pie syrup
30ml prepared coffee-infused Lillet Rouge
Frosted or chilled old-fashioned glass
Dried orange slices, to garnish
- First, make the whisky mince pie syrup. Put the mince pie filling in a bowl and stir with the sugar syrup. Slowly add the Chivas Regal and mix until completely incorporated. Leave to rest for 20 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve/cheesecloth into a clean, sealable container. Set aside for later (you’ll only use 40ml of the syrup in this recipe: the rest you can set aside to pour over ice cream).
- Now infuse your Lillet Rouge. Pour 250ml of Lillet Rouge into a separate sealable container and add the coffee beans. Leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside (you’ll only use 30ml in this recipe: you can save the rest for another cocktail or dessert).
- Now assemble your cocktail. Add a few cubes of ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour in 80ml of Chivas Regal and the whisky mince pie syrup, and stir well.
- Add a large block of ice to each frosted old fashioned glass. Using a Hawthorne strainer, strain the cocktail into the glasses. Gently pour over 15ml each of the coffee infused Lillet Rouge and serve with a slice of dried orange.
From delicious to stratospheric…
“Use a large block of ice in your glass, rather than lots of small ice cubes. Then, simply savour.”
“You can use any type of blended scotch instead of Chivas Regal, but it really is the backbone of this recipe. If you can’t find Lillet Rouge (pronounced “lee-lay”), you can use Dubonnet Rouge or Byrrh 5.”