Orange Blossom Special
2 oz Jack Daniels No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey
0.5 oz Sorghum Orange Blossom Simple Syrup
3 dashed Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients with ice until chilled, then strain into a chilled double old-fashioned glass.
Garnish with orange twist.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Johnny Cash’s live appearance at Folsom County Prison in Sacramento. The album of the performance, At Folsom Prison, resurrected his career, which had been stunted in part by his addiction to prescription pills.
Side one, song six, entitled “Orange Blossom Special,” is my lodestar for developing this week’s recipe. The cocktail, which is basically an Old Fashioned, starts with Jack Daniels No. 7 as a nod to Tennessee, where Cash made his home at Hideaway Farm for more than thirty years. Instead of sugar, I use a sorghum simple syrup flavored with orange blossom water. Sorghum is grown in the Arkansas Delta, and Cash was born at the edge of the region during the Great Depression. If you’ve never worked with sorghum syrup, you should try it. It’s a sweetener made from sweet sorghum grass. It’s thick and has a nice funkiness to it. To make my simple syrup, I use 1/4 cup of sorghum and 1/2 cup of hot water, then I add 1.5 teaspoons of orange blossom water.
Once my syrup has cooled, I add 2 ounces of Jack Daniels, 1/2 ounce of sorghum orange blossom simple and three dashes of angostura to a mixing glass, followed by ice. I stir it until the glass frosts [about 30 seconds], then strain into a double old-fashioned glass with one large ice cube and, finally, garnish with an orange twist. Strong and complex, it seems a fitting tribute to The Man in Black.
Sorghum Orange Blossom Simple Syrup
1/4 cup of sorghum
1.5 teaspoons of orange blossom water
Mix ingredients with 1/2 cup of hot water until sorghum dissolves. Refrigerate for up to one month.