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Some women are dazzled by a dozen roses. I prefer four… on a bottle of bourbon. So when the opportunity arose to visit the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceville, Kentucky en route to Charleston for a little weekend romp at Zero George Street, who was I to deny living my best life? To JFK we go.

In case you missed the inaugural episode of this raging illustration of my lushdom, here’s the drill: I make bootlegged cocktails on airplanes right under the flight attendants’ noses while simultaneously trying to avoid drawing attention to myself and getting in trouble because apparently bringing your own booze on board is frowned upon. To this, I say: ‘Stock better alcohol.’ That is all.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. On this trip, I’ve opted for a classic Old Fashioned, which calls for a few simple ingredients: whiskey (bourbon or rye), sugar and bitters. In this case, I’m obviously using Four Roses Bourbon in honour of my upcoming tasting blitz, and what better way to whet the palate? I’ve brought a mini bottle in my bag along with a tiny vial of bitters, so all that was left was sugar, which I nabbed from a Chili’s To Go, and some orange zest. I hunted down a full orange from a newsstand. Seemed like a waste but I figured I’d find someone to pawn it off on after obtaining my garnish from its skin.

After boarding, I start to set up shop. The flight attendant walks by, so I play it cool and request two plastic cups, some hot water, a stir stick, a plastic knife and ice. She gives me a weird look (understandable) but delivers. Bless her. Here goes:

Céline’s Planeside Old Fashioned

– 1 packet of Chili’s To Go sugar (really any brand will do)
– 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters (to taste – I like it pretty heavy)
– 2oz Four Roses Bourbon
– ice


Place contents of sugar packet in empty plastic airline cup. Add a few splashes of hot water and mix with stir stick until fully dissolved. Add bitters and bourbon. Fill cup with ice and stir until well chilled. Here’s where you choose your own adventure. If you’d like to be super professional about this, you’ll very carefully pour only the liquid into a new glass with fresh ice. If you don’t give a damn, you can sip straight from the mixing glass and ultimately be forgiven because, after all, you’re on an airplane and people will be impressed that you’ve taken things this far. Either way, for garnish, you’ll cut a nice, hefty strip of zest from the orange (careful not to cut away any of the fruit) and express the oils around the entire lip of the cup before dropping it into the drink.


Enjoy! And if ever you find yourself near the Bourbon Trail, stop by the Four Roses estate and tell them I say hello.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Mile-High Cocktail Club, featuring a classic Don Q daiquiri en route to Puerto Rico.

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