Photography by Chelsea Larsson
I like to make my own cocktails at home. When I’m by myself, I could spend hours searching through different recipes and thinking about flavor profiles in order to make the perfect drink. But when company is over, I tend to stick to my list of signature drinks.
I have three rules for a signature drink. First and most obvious, it has to be delicious. Drinks that I make for guests are typically drinks that I have made before. If you want to be a memorable host, better stick to your crowd-pleasers.
Second, a signature drinks should stand out. While a good host should know the classics, a signature drink should be something special - something your guests won’t have anywhere else. Whether its a particular type of gin for a Tom Collins or an extra ingredient in a Manhattan, a signature drink should be noteworthy.
Lastly, the drink should be easy to make. While extravagant cocktails have their time and place, your guests want to spend time with you, not watch you mix drinks. You are the host after all, not the bartender. A signature drink should be something that can be made quickly and reliably so you can return in time for the punchline to your guest’s joke.
One of my favorite signature drinks to make guests is The Old Ancho. It’s a spicy variation of a traditional Old Fashioned that I invented and is incredibly easy to make. The only extra ingredient you need is Ancho Reyes Chili Liquor.
Ancho Chili liquor is made from poblano peppers and has been produced in Puebla, Mexico since 1927. For a chili liquor, it’s remarkably subtle. It starts off sweet with hints of tamarind and cacao and then is followed with a moderate spicy flavor. It's not unlike your favorite mole sauce, which is also made from the poblano pepper.
My friend Jacob introduced me to this and it’s become a staple in my home bar since. It’s great by itself and plays well with others. It even comes with a small booklet of great cocktails you can mix with it.
Simply add all the ingredients of an Old Fashioned with a little Ancho to an Old Fashioned glass with some ice and stir.
The Old Ancho
- 1 OZ bourbon or rye
- 1 OZ Ancho Reyes Chili Liquor
- 1/4 OZ simple syrup
- 2 dashes of orange bitters
- Orange peel garnish
- Glass: Old Fashioned
- Add the bitters to the glass, followed by simple syrup, bourbon, and Ancho
- Add a nice big piece of ice
- Stir for 20 seconds
- Garnish with orange peel