Whew, bet you’re glad that’s over. But while the pomp and pressure of Valentine’s Day may be behind us, the beer-drenched shadow of St. Patrick’s Day looming in the none-too-distant weeks is enough to make you curl up on your couch and dream of commercialized-holiday-free August. These weeks call for a decidedly fancy-free drink — one that doesn’t take itself too seriously yet has all the elegant oomph that a winter warmer calls for. The Campfire, a playful whiskey drink at the handsome Avery Bar at the Ritz-Carlton, is essentially an eccentric Old Fashioned, formulated with peaty Islay single malt scotch — or bourbon, if you prefer sweet to smoke — then sweetened with maple syrup and tied together with chocolate and walnut bitters. At the bar it’s a spectacle drink, what with the bartender torching the marshmallow, as if to authenticate the whimsy factor, but at home, keep it drama-free and just smoke it over a flame, campfire style, then settle in and dream of holiday-free August.
Makes 1 drink
3 graham crackers
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce simple syrup (to make syrup: in a small saucepan over low heat, heat equal parts sugar and water just until sugar melts)
1½ ounces bourbon or single malt Islay scotch
¼ ounce maple syrup
2 dashes chocolate bitters
1 dash black walnut bitters
1 marshmallow, toasted
1. Pulverize graham crackers. In a shallow bowl, mix fine graham cracker crumbs with sugar. Wet the rim of a rocks glass with simple syrup and plunge into the mix. Set aside.
2. Pour whiskey, maple syrup, chocolate bitters, and walnut bitters into a mixing glass over ice. Stir for 45 seconds.
3. Strain into the rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with a speared toasted marshmallow.