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A crusta is a very old fashioned type of cocktail. According to David Wondrich, the drink was first made by Joseph Santini of New Orleans’ City Exchange in around 1840, using brandy. The origins of the name are a bit unclear, but what is clear is that it was one of the first cocktails to make use of simple syrup, rather than straight sugar, to sweeten the drink.
You can make a crusta with pretty much any spirit, and I’ve seen them made with brandy, cognac and whiskey. I like the Whiskey Crusta, which has a similar flavor profile to an Old Fashioned. I use orange curacao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, bitters and just a touch of simple syrup. Serve it icy cold and try to appreciate how much easier it is to use simple syrup instead of granulated sugar, just like bartenders did back in the 1840s.
Method: Stir or Shake
2 oz. Whiskey
1 tsp. Orange Curacao
1 tsp. Maraschino Liqueur
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
2 dashes of Bitters
Fill a small wine glass with ice to chill. After it’s nice and frosty, dump out the ice. Wet the rim with lemon juice and dip it in sugar and set aside. Fill a mixing glass with ice and add all of the ingredients. Stir or shake (depending on your preference) until chilled and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a peel of half a lemon.