The Fancy Free Cocktail is a great way to kick off a happy hour when you’re ready to “unwind” from a long week. As adults, some of us look for ways to enjoy great-tasting cocktails to ease our minds just a little from those stress-filled days. *raises hand*
So, let’s start with the whiskey…
I am a true whiskey guy and choosing the right whiskey for your cocktails is very important. Some people prefer stronger cocktails made with Bourbon or Rye packing a high ABV (Alcohol By Volume), but I prefer a smooth taste over strength.
When you are able to get flavor and smoothness in the same whiskey you just may have found a new favorite. Some whiskey’s out there have a high price tag that can discourage some buyers, but there are a lot of great options on the shelves that should fit most budgets.
What is the difference between a Bourbon and Rye?
The main difference between Rye and Bourbon is their main ingredient. Bourbon must be distilled from corn mash (legally at least 51%), and Rye must be at least 51% rye mash.
Bourbon is sweet and full-bodied where Rye is spicy and dry. I find that Rye packs more of a punch than Bourbon.
So, for this recipe, I choose Kentucky Michter’s Rye. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky Michter’s is one of the oldest distilleries in the U.S. The rye is very smooth with a great flavor, and at this price range, it’s hard to beat.
It’s completely up to you whether you use Bourbon or Rye for this recipe. Using Rye, this cocktail has a sweet, rich, and slightly spicy taste profile.
Any bourbon-based cocktail seems to always be a little better with bitters and this recipe has two of my favorites.
The orange and aromatic bitter combination go great with this Rye, plus the Maraschino cherry adds balance. In addition, the Maraschino liqueur adds flavor and helps to separate it from your typical bourbon-based drink.
The Fancy Free cocktail is essentially an Old Fashioned but replaces sugar or simple syrup with a dash of maraschino cherry liqueur. Erik Lombardo at Maialino in NYC introduced us to this classic cocktail.
How to Make a Fancy Free cocktail:
You will begin this recipe by adding cracked ice to your cocktail shaker.
Add 2 to 3 ounces of your choice of bourbon or rye.
Pour .5 ounces of Maraschino cherry liqueur into the shaker then add 2 dashes of each bitter. Give it a shake.
Add one Maraschino cherry into your chilled martini glass and pour your cocktail into the glass through a strainer.
Serve immediately and enjoy a great combination of bourbon, Maraschino liqueur, and bitters.
If you are making this recipe for two try doubling up each of the ingredients and don’t hold back on the extra pour if desired. Cheers!