Ode: The Brown Butter Old Fashioned at Pony Up
A proper Old Fashioned has a simple formula: some sweet, some bitters, some whiskey. Drop in a big rock, give it a healthy stir, garnish with an orange slice (or just the zest — let’s not get too crazy), and you have the classic cocktail fit to sip.
Sure, you could dress it up in a multitude of variations, but my faves keep it simple and elegant.
Sweet. Bitters. Whiskey.
But then you roll into PonyUp, where Angela and her team of rockstars treat you with friendly competence — no matter how many post-Rox/Avs/Nuggets game bros have bellied up, drunk on Coors Light and tribal affinity, standing at the bar and talking too loud. You roll in because you’re on a rare LoDo stroll — drinks and snacks at the usual haunts — and you realize a brown butter old fashioned and some late night karaage is just the thing.
And that first sip is full-on Werthers. Grandpa candy unwrapped and liquified with a bourbon burn and then just a hint of salt at the end. The next sip tastes more balanced and even more delicious as the added saline catches up with your initial olfactory impression.
“Damn, that’s good,” you actually say out loud before going in for another sip, the giant ice cube clinking on the side of the glass like one of those zen bells that bring you back to the present — awareness of that very instant in time. In your life. In Denver.
Maybe you’re out and about on a solo wander, or maybe you’re with your best buds, on the move, looking for trouble. Maybe it’s been a shitty week or maybe it’s the best day ever. Maybe you’re feeling low and heartbroken or maybe you’re high on the potential of last night’s first date — which ended with brunch this morning.
Doesn’t matter, because that brown butter bourbon beverage brings you solace and joy in equal measure and everyone in the bar is your friend. You cage a quick hug from Angela as she spins by to handle an altercation at the door, you dip your chicken into the spicy mayo and crunch through the crispy crust into the tender meat inside, and you order another cocktail because there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.