Made with Weller Reserve Bourbon

How to Make: Percy & Small Old Fashioned

July 17, 2015 Drinks By Photo by Chase Pellerin
The recipe for the Percy & Small Old Fashioned comes from Chris Gatchell, Bar Manager at The Inkwell, in Portland, Maine.

“Nothing’s worse than a good bourbon going into a fruit cocktail,” Chris Gatchell says as he sets on the counter a bottle of Weller Reserve. He’s about to put the brown stuff from Buffalo Trace into a cocktail along with orange, persimmon and a Luxardo cherry. It’s good to know Gatchell is aware of what he’s risking. At its best, an Old Fashioned is a way of complementing the sweet, oaky flavors of a bourbon with the nuances of citrus and the allspice flavor of the bitters. At the drink’s worst, the bourbon gets washed away in the confluence of too many flavors.

The Percy & Small is named after the last wooden shipyard in the United States, set up in nearby Bath, Maine. The shipyard operated in the early 1900s and made seaworthy schooners. The boats’ masts, Gatchell notes, were made from American oak (as are bourbon barrels). Thus, connection. It’s a light link, but it reinforces the approach that Gatchell brings to this Old Fashioned: it’s not about trumping the bourbon’s nature. It’s not about watering down something good. Instead, it’s taking a strong drink and giving it some subtle, light hints of something more. The orange sits in the background; the cherry is notional. Weller Reserve is a delicious bourbon, and you taste that, with just a hint of sweetness. In other words, it’s a true, worthy Old Fashioned.

Percy & Small Old Fashioned

1 ounce Demerara Syrup
2 ounces Weller Reserve Bourbon
5 dashes Owl & Whale Persimmon Bitters
Orange peel
Luxardo Cherry

Rocks glass
Japanese jigger
Bar spoon


1. Using the jigger, pour into the glass 1 ounce Demerara, 2 ounces Weller Reserve bourbon and 5 dashes of Owl & Whale persimmon bitters. Add ice to fill the glass.

2. Place the bar spoon into the glass with the rounded edge to the outside touching the glass always. Stir, going around the glass 5 to 7 times.

3. Peel a portion of orange zest over the glass. Twist and squeeze said zest over the glass to release additional oils, then place in glass.

4. To complete garnish, place a Luxardo cherry in glass. Serve.