A spicy Old Fashioned

“What sets it apart is the bittersweet chocolate coming up the back”

Wendy McGlinnen: "I’m also selling the experience of doing something naughty—like a teenager sneaking a flask into a concert.”
  • Wendy McGlinnen: "I’m also selling the experience of doing something naughty—like a teenager sneaking a flask into a concert.”

Consider the quotidian comforts of the common whiskey flask. The preferred vade mecum of serious sippers, this versatile vessel fits in pocket, purse, or petticoat—a genie in a bottle who, at a moment’s command, provides instant courage, sudden friendship, or fast and frequent commiseration.

Barbusa

1917 India Street, Little Italy

As Barbusa’s bar manager Wendy McGlinnen points out, this little friend also has a wild side, which she’s captured in a new cocktail, the Caloroso, ready to serve, batched, bunged, and served in a deep-freeze frosted 4-ounce glass flask.

“The Caloroso is really designed to be drunk straight out of the flask for presentation,” McGlinnen says, noting that glassware is available upon request, “but I’m also selling the experience of doing something naughty—like a teenager sneaking a flask into a concert.”

With the first taste, customers know why the Caloroso takes its name from the Italian word for “heartwarming welcome.”

“You’re going to get a warm sensation from the cocktail,” McGlinnen says. “It does come off a little spicy and a little sweet with the pepper, the bite of the bourbon, and the sweet of the chocolate bitters.”

McGlinnen tentatively places her Caloroso in the Old Fashioned wheelhouse.

“You could call it a spicy Old Fashioned,” she says. “Its spices definitely make it a cold-weather cocktail.”

Still, the Caloroso establishes its own place of residence in the cocktail neighborhood.

“What sets it apart is the bittersweet chocolate coming up the back,” she says. “You’re going to get the warmth of the cinnamon and chili up front, and then the heat of the bourbon. But the lasting finish comes from the chocolate, which makes you want to take another sip.”

Barbusa’s Caloroso

Barbusa's Caloroso

Barbusa's Caloroso

  • 2 1/2 oz. Bulleit or Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 2 dashes Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Fee Brothers’ Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz. Honey Simple Syrup*

Combine ingredients in jar, chill in freezer overnight, pour into glass (or stainless steel) 4 oz. flask, seal, place flask in freezer for half-hour to an hour; when ready to use, garnish flask’s neck with tiny chili skewered and wrapped in orange peel.

  • * Macerate chilies and cinnamon, add to saucepan of water, bring to boil, simmer for 45 minutes, strain, add honey to liquid; chill before using.
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 medium dried Ancho Chili
  • 2 1/2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 cup Wildflower Honey

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