Hacking a Favorite for National Bourbon Day
It was called the Mustache Ride–presumably to cause awkwardness in all that ordered it–but it was brilliant. I was visiting my friends Chase and Kate at their Seattle studio. Kate mentions going for drinks and Chase yells from across the studio “Mustache rides! He’s gotta have a mustache ride!”
Ok. So it was.
We head to Staple & Fancy, where Chase promptly orders us a round of Mustache Rides. The cocktail isn’t on the menu but the bartender knows it from the adjacent Walrus & The Carpenter. The drinks show up and I’m smitten. It’s intense, smoky, bitter, sweet, and goes down far too easily. We have another.
Since then I have been trying to hack the recipe. The description given on the Walrus menu is vague–bourbon, maple syrup, lemon, and a few not-so-common ingredients like Cynar and allspice liqueur. So I go with what I do have: some bitter and sweet liqueurs, Rose cardamom-clove syrup, lemon, and aromatic bitters.
After stumbling through a few versions, some too bitter, some too sweet, I settle on the recipe below. The great thing about this recipe is you can substitute ingredients if you’re out of one thing or another. Sweet and herbal liqueurs are just asking to pair with a good bourbon.
The Fake Mustache Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz. bourbon (I like Bulleit or Buffalo Trace for this one)
- 1/2 oz. Fernet Branca
- 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
- 1 teaspoon Rose Cardamom Clove syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 dash of aromatic bitters
- Thin orange peel to garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker full of ice, shake well, and pour over cracked ice into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Substitute the clove/cardamom syrup with maple syrup, use an herbal sweet liqueur like Amaretto or Benedictine instead of Fernet, add a few extra dashes of aromatic bitters. Really, you can go any direction with this basic outline. Experiment and have fun. That’s what mustaches are for.