This is just stupid. Seriously, this is what happens when you read too many books, learn about techniques you have never practiced and stay up too late watching videos. Next thing you know you are out buying doughnuts, upgrading your pourover game and curdling milk on purpose. It was so over the top, I just had to try it, no matter that it was kind of complicated and silly. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and do the thing, which is exactly what we are going to do now. So, please open your minds and join me as we stand and make the Chocolate Doughnut Old-Fashioned.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good doughnut, must be in want of a coffee. This is known, but only slightly less well-known is this; a man in possession of a good doughnut and Irish whiskey, must be in want of an amazing Old-Fashioned. This drink comes to us from the mind of Kevin Kos, famed bartender and creator of Cocktail Time with Kevin Kos, where I stumbled upon this wonder one evening. He makes incredibly inventive cocktails, often flipping recipes on their heads through his careful application of molecular gastronomy techniques. That said, this is exactly the sort of cocktail I often shy away from, since I want things to be accessible to the home bartender; but it turns out that this one is way easier to build than it seems at first. Stick with me, I’ll hold your hand through the entire thing and I promise we are gonna come out the other side better for the experience.
This is one of those drinks that takes a while, so we are going to go through it in stages. The recipe we are using is enough to make two drinks, but you may decide to up the amounts to make full batches of this one, once you try it. We are starting out blending together the ingredients, so grab your cup and add 6 3/4 ounces of Irish Whiskey, the original recipe calls for Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition, but I preferred Jameson Cold Brew to push that coffee flavor forward. That said, just straight Irish Whiskey is also lovely here. To that add 1/2 an ounce of maple syrup, 10 dashes of coffee bitters, I chose Crude Bitter Co. Big Bear Coffee and Cocoa Bitters, 1 barspoon of either a 6% citric acid solution or lemon juice and 1/4 of a chocolate donut. I went with a chocolate glazed Dunkin Donut here, mainly because they were near, they were open and I wanted to keep this one accessible. Pop the cup on the blender and give this one a spin for 30 seconds or so to make sure it is well blended and incorporated. All pretty straightforward so far, right?
Good, let’s get weird then. Pour 3/4 of an ounce of whole milk, you are going to want that fat, in a separate cup and add your blended mixture slowly to the milk. It’s gonna curdle and look funky, that’s a feature not a bug. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes while it works its magic. “What magic?”, you ask. Well, that citric acid, either from your solution or the lemon juice is making the milk curdle, separating it into curds and whey, Little Miss Tuffet. Those milk curds attract particulates in the liquid, like little pieces of blended donut and helps to filter them out of the blend. I have seen this process many times, yielding super clear cocktails, but this was the first time I tried it myself. It was super easy, just takes patience. Which bring us to the next step. Now that your mixture has sat a bit and separated, you have to strain it. My favorite method is to use my pourover coffee maker overnight in the fridge, but you can also do a coffee filter or cheesecloth in a strainer suspended over a pot. I found that double straining worked best for me, tossing out the first filter and going again with a clean filter for the second, much quicker, strain. That’s it, you now have a batched cocktail.
I chose to lean into the coffee nature of this one and serve it in a little, handmade coffee mug. Just pour 2 ounces of your batched Doughnut Old-Fashioned into your mixing pitcher, add ice and stir to the beat of Lake Street Dive’s “What I’m Doing Here“, before straining over a king cube. Add 3-4 stabs of chocolate bitters, I chose Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, to the cube to get a nice aroma. I figure you should garnish this one with a doughnut or two, maybe with an artful bite taken out of one.
I told you it was stupid and it is. Stupid good. I am shocked at just how much of the flavor of the donut comes though. It is unmistakable, seriously. I could even tell that I used a Dunkin Donut with their typical “a bit yeasty for my taste” flavor. Not saying they don’t have their place, I just don’t usually go with them for reasons. Ok, I admit it, I am a total donut snob, but I live way out in the country and it was late afternoon so I would have had to wait in order to get a fancier one. Speaking of it being late afternoon, like 4 pm, the Dunkin options were already mostly stale from sitting out all day, which is a shame, because they can be pretty good when they are fresh, which they just never are locally. Blame efficiency and economies of scale or whatever helps you sleep better at night. Like I said, reasons. Still, I was surprised at just how much flavor came through, including their signature yeast. I fully intend to make this one again with some different doughnuts, for science, you know. I am not complaining though, this drink absolutely rocks. There is so much nuance hiding below that initial donut flavor, as the subtleties of the whiskey and bitters come to the front. Truly amazing and totally worth the trouble, which really is not that much trouble.
Speaking of that, the milk wash is definitely a thing to do. I opted to make a second batch, skipping the citric acid and milk stage, just going with a double strain and it was not as good. The flavor still came through, but it took longer to strain and it needed some help along the way. Plus, it was somehow harsher, as if the milk rounded the rough edges off of the flavor, so don’t cut corners.
This is one of those rare drinks where I was truly blown away at the result. My wife and just kept looking over our cups at each other and saying really eloquent things like “Oh my gods”, “Seriously?” and “Well, did you ever?” We wanted to go out and shout it from the rooftops, but like I said, we live in the country and I don’t think the cows really care for doughnuts or Old-Fashioned’s, plus the ladder is in the barn. Another sip was followed by another round of grunts, mmmm’s and ahhh’s. We wanted to call Jenn and share this with her, but decided that a random phone call from us describing a drink she could not share would be more cruel than kind, although totally in character. Luckily, we were distracted by the next sip before we started dialing and subjecting friends to drink envy. Seriously, it was just that good though and completely unexpected. A big part of this drink is the moment when you pull back and look at it wondering just how in the hell we coaxed that doughnut flavor into the glass. Of course, you all know now that it just takes a blender, citric acid, milk and patience. Oh and a great recipe from a master mixologist. Hats off to Kevin Kos for not only creating, but sharing this head-scratching treat with the world. We are going to go have another, after all it is cocktail time. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.