Drink of the Week: Singani 63 Old Fashioned

This week's Substandard (subscribe! Review!) is probably our best show ever. I can't put my finger on it, but something just felt … right. Perhaps it was our drink of the week: the Singani 63 Old Fashioned! After the embed, I'll walk you through the steps of making this tasty confection.

Okay, so, first: a bit of background on Singani 63. It's a Bolivian brandy owned by Steven Soderbergh (the subject of this week's episode), a "CLEAR, MIXABLE SPIRIT DISTILLED FROM THE AROMATIC WHITE MUSCAT OF ALEXANDRIA GRAPE AT HEIGHTS NEARING 6000 FT," according to the spirit's website. We've sampled the Singani on the show before, but we made the mistake of drinking it straight. Don't do this. It's … well, it's not a bourbon or a scotch, I'll put it that way.

But for those of you who are interested in absorbing the whole Steven Soderbergh experience, there are, fortunately, a whole mess of recipes you can try. I opted for the Old Fashioned because—and I'm just being honest here—I make the best Old Fashioned you've ever had. (Just trust me on this.) And I'm here to tell you: The Singani 63 Old Fashioned is pretty great! But it'll take you a few steps to mix it up just right.

Step One: Make Your Own Demerara Syrup

The key to any Old Fashioned—and I cannot stress this enough—is making your own syrup. For God's sake, people, it's just sugar water. Stop spending $5 a bottle on the stuff. A bourbon Old Fashioned uses regular simple syrup, but to get the Old Fashioned's pleasing brown hue with Singani 63, a white liquor, you'll need to make some demerara syrup.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups demerara/turbinado sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • one glass, bourbon (rocks optional)

As the great Kingsley Amis once said, this can be a messy, somewhat annoying procedure; the bourbon is to get past that.

Put the two cups of demerara (raw, brown) sugar and two cups of water into a saucepan, stir, and heat to boiling. Boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and pour the syrup into a used (and cleaned, you savages) liquor bottle.

Step Two: Pour Two Ounces of Singani 63 Into a Glass

Pretty simple step: Fill a two-ounce jigger with Singani 63 and pour that into an old fashioned glass.

Step Three: Add Two Teaspoons of Demerara Syrup to the Two Ounces of Singani 63

Again, self explanatory.

Step Four: Add Orange and Lemon Peels

An underrated step in a successful Old Fashioned. Here's the thing: you just want the peel. As little white pith as possible. None of the fruit underneath the peel, for God's sake. You're trying to get the essence of the flavor, the oils trapped in the peel. And to do this, you want as thin a slice as possible. Once you have your very thin slices, twist the peels to release the oils into the liquor/syrup combination.

Step Five: Add Bitters

The recipe calls for three dashes of Angostura bitters, but I like my Old Fashioneds a bit spicier so I go with four or five. Bitters are kind of like salt and pepper: season to taste.

Step Six: Stir, Add Ice

Again, rather self explanatory. I don't do the whole single, spherical ice cube thing; two pieces of ice from your ice maker will be fine.

Et voila, you have a very solid drink!