When MGM Grand announced its recent Woodford Reserve Double Oaked cocktail competition among the property’s bartenders, Fiamma barman John Clair brought out the big guns. His winning Double Peach cocktail shows off the double-barreled qualities of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon, which was introduced in March 2012 as the brand’s first permanent line extension since Woodford Reserve debuted in 1996. Double Oaked gets its name from the journey it takes, spending 6-8 years in a new white-oak barrel, lightly toasted and heavily charred, before it goes into a second, heavily toasted and lightly charred barrel for an additional 6-12 months.
Inspired by the barrels themselves—made in parent company Brown-Forman’s Louisville, Kentucky, cooperage expressly for Woodford Reserve—Clair sought to develop an asset for his bar, a cocktail that would mirror as well as complement some of the flavors imparted by the double-barrel process: vanilla, fruit, caramel, honey, hazelnut, cream and spice. His Double Peach doubles down on it all with a generous pour of bourbon, lemon juice and two peach formats, aromatic bitters and house-infused syrup. Although Double Oaked is meant to be savored neat or with an ice cube, bartenders have been quick to adopt it for bourbon Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and original creations. And for his efforts, Clair wins a trip to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky, which is just peachy!
Woodford Double Peach
As served at Fiamma Trattoria and Bar at MGM Grand, $12
In a mixing glass, combine 2½ ounces Woodford Double Oaked bourbon, 1 ounce house-made peach syrup (recipe below, or substitute Monin peach syrup), the juice of half a lemon and 4 dashes peach bitters. Add ice, cover, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with two slices of fresh peach.
House-made Peach Simple Syrup: In a saucepan, combine peach slices, a whole vanilla bean, lemon zest, and equal parts sugar and water. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for up to three hours, to taste. Cool, strain and store in a sealable container.