Last Christmas, my baby brother, a Kentuckian, started a tradition of contributing craft cocktails to family holiday gatherings. We’re holding him to it–until the end of time.
This Thanksgiving, we huddled pre-meal as Brian poured mysterious liquids into my grandparents’ art deco shaker, and Jenni, his wife, carefully curled orange rinds. Concocting a twist on a drink the couple discovered while traveling, Brian and Jenni named their version the Deer Park Misfit, after their 1920s Louisville neighborhood, Deer Park.
With the Kentucky roots, you’d think we’d go bourbon all the way, but man cannot live on bourbon alone. The Deer Park Misfit features barrel-aged gin. Once controversial, barrel-aged gin is making its way into the zone of acceptability. It basically tastes like gin with oak-y bourbon undertones and has a lovely, pale amber color. Mixed with high quality sweet vermouth and orange bitters, the DPM felt a little like a Manhattan. Which, for me, is a very good thing.
The Deer Park Misfit
2 parts barrel-aged gin (Brian uses FEW, which smells like Christmas in a bottle, boasting notes of fennel, peppery spices and smoke.)
1 part sweet vermouth (Brian emphasizes splurging on the good stuff. He uses Carpano Antica Formula.)
a dash of orange bitters
curled orange rind, rubbed on the edge of glass and then placed inside
Shake in a shaker with ice and strain it into glasses with orange peel.