The Bonfire Old-Fashioned

Photo by Heami Lee

With roots that date to the seventh century, some of the earliest Midsummer traditions celebrated the defeat of darkness by the sun god. Bonfires were part of the celebration, thought to ward off evil spirits and dark forces, and also to bring luck. 

At heart, this is a classic Old Fashioned. Although Bourbon is the standard-bearer for this drink, consider a Scandinavian whiskey like Spirit of Hven’s Tycho’s Star or High Coast ALV, both Swedish single malts. You could also experiment with a barrel-aged aquavit like Norway’s Linie as the base. The flamed orange peel adds a caramelized note and requisite incendiary flourish. 

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • ¼ ounce Demerara syrup*
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Orange peel, for garnish
Directions

In mixing glass, stir all ingredients, except garnish, with ice. Strain into Old Fashioned glass over large ice cube.  

To garnish, hold orange peel directly over glass, skin facing away from you. Using other hand, light match. Flex orange peel so the oils spritz through flame and ignite. Peel may be used to garnish drink, or discard. 

 *Demerara syrup 

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup Demerara sugar and ½ cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let cool, and store in airtight container. Refrigerated, it keeps up to 2 weeks. Makes about ¾ cup. 

Published on June 18, 2021