Dean Clough

May 3, 2024

Portico Darwin: Nice Cocktails, The Easy Way



1 Minute Read

For a Friday, I will do my bit as a big-time influencer and share a product that upped my game recently at the bar. 

At least at my own - I'll let others assess my performance in public places.

I enjoy making the occasional cocktail at home, and my two favorites are the Old Fashioned and the Negroni.  The recipes for both, from my best-selling completely unknown book It's Happy Hour, are below.

But first, some background and then a product recommendation you can use with either.  

Both cocktails require some kind of citrus garnish (but holy shit no cherry in an Old Fashioned, FFS); most cool kids will typically use a thin wafer of orange peel, although I've seen a lemon rind in more than one fine Negroni over the years.

So, I used to buy an orange at the store, use a peeler at cocktail time, and garnish the drinks, like this.
And then, almost always and I'm certainly not proud of it, toss in the trash, uneaten, the perfectly edible orange that remained.  That, regrettably, went on for years, but no longer.

Because - shocker - we were at a bar (the Killer Delarosa Downtown, to be exact), and we saw the bartender dehydrating fresh orange slices.  Indeed, I was sipping an Old Fashioned so equipped, that she had just made.  It was delicious and also aesthetically pleasing.

But who the F is buying a dehydrator and screwing around like that at home?  After some false starts with other brands (too many broken/chipped pieces from one, and odd, green orange slices from Brazil from another), I found the right vendor and while it's no household name, I give you - with no affiliate BS, of course - the right dehydrated orange slices to buy from Amazon.

First:  This is a shit-ton of dehydrated orange slices.  And they wrap and ship them such that I have yet to find one broken and unusable.

And probably more importantly:  Less waste (at least it feels that way), with the added benefit of saving money, over time.

Have a great weekend.  And on said weekend, you might want to try one of these.

Old Fashioned
This makes a double and you can trust me when I say one is plenty.

  • 2 teaspoons Demerara Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Hot Water
  • Several Dashes of Peychaud’s Orange Bitters
  • 4 oz. Rye
  • Dehydrated Orange Slice (or fresh peel)

Use a muddling stick to make a syrup of the sugar, water, and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass.  Add a large ice cube to the glass and then the whiskey. Stir 15 – 20 times, garnish, and enjoy.

Pro Tip:  Make the syrup ahead of time in bulk.  In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/3 cup of Demerara Sugar with 1/3 cup of water and heat on high, covered, for 2 minutes.  Allow to cool and transfer to the fridge; add two teaspoons of the syrup and the bitters to the individual drinks at prep time. 

Is this ever not a great choice?

  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 1.5 oz. Campari
  • 1.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • Several Dashes of Peychaud’s Orange Bitters
  • Dehydrated Orange Slice (or fresh peel)

Add a large ice cube to an Old Fashioned glass, and then all of the ingredients.  Stir 15 – 20 times, garnish, and enjoy.


Julie, after reading my Liberal post from her office, sent me this via the modern telegraph:

Liked your newsletter today.

Now in our fifth decade together, I'll take whatever compliments I can get.

(True:  we started dating in 1989.)

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


Never let it be said that this imaginary radio station does not play a wide variety of music, nor that it doesn't virtue signal.  Here, on an album of beautiful and modern chamber music that is ideal for a more sophisticated happy hour, is Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet and Orange

About Dean Clough