I have a fig tree, and this fig tree has my heart. What this fig tree does not have, unfortunately, is a reliable second crop of figs in our cool-summer climate. So, after the breba crop ripens, that’s usually it.
This year, I dried all the breba figs I could, to try to extend our enjoyment of this perishable delicacy. Some of the dried figs were further preserved as a fig bourbon infusion.
Fig bourbon, it turns out, makes a damned fine Old Fashioned.
Fig Infused Bourbon
To make the fig bourbon, fill a mason jar half-full with dried figs. For a 1-pint mason jar, you’ll need about a cup of dried figs.
Fill the jar with a decent-quality bourbon (ignore the Basil Hayden “stunt” bottle in this photo – we typically use Jim Beam for infusing), lid tightly and let the bourbon sit at room temperature for at least 48 hours, and up to a week or longer.
When your fig bourbon is ready, sip it neat, or mix it up as a Fig Old Fashioned.
The Fig Old Fashioned
You’ll need fig-infused bourbon, fresh orange, either a fresh fig or one of the dried figs from the infusion, and a good quality balsamic vinegar.
I’ll be honest here. From a flavor standpoint, both the fresh and the dried fig variation are delicious. However, the bourbon soaked dried figs do look a bit slug-like, so for aesthetics the fresh fig wins out.
In this Old Fashioned variation, we start by muddling a wedge of fresh orange and one-half fresh or one dried, bourbon-soaked fig at the bottom of a bar glass or mason jar.
If you are using a fresh fig a few seconds of muddling will convince the fig to disintegrate into a sweet mass at the bottom of the jar. If you are using a dried fig you must be stern, and prepared for a long bout of serious what-for with your fig.
Once your fig – fresh or dried – and your orange wedge is a pasty mass at the bottom of the glass, add in one barspoon-measure of good quality balsamic vinegar and a heafty glug of the fig infused bourbon.
Add a handful of fresh ice to your glass and stir everything together.
At this point a traditional Old Fashioned would be simply dumped into an appropriate glass, garnished and served. But for a slightly less messy look, just strain the contents of your bar glass into a rocks glass over ice, and garnish with a fresh fig and an orange wedge.
The Fig Old Fashioned Cocktail – Printable Recipe
- ½ fresh fig (substitute 1 bourbon-infused dried fig if desired)
- 1 small wedge orange
- ¾ tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 oz fig infused bourbon
- ½ fresh fig (optional)
- 1 small wedge fresh orange
- Add the fresh fig and the orange wedge to the bottom of a sturdy bar glass or mason jar. Muddle until the fig and orange are thoroughly broken up.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and the fig infused bourbon to the bar glass.
- Fill the bar glass with ice and stir the cocktail well, for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Strain the drink into a chilled rocks glass.
- Add ice, garnish with half a fresh fig and a small wedge of orange, and serve immediately.