Welcome to Add to Bar Cart, where Cool Material’s writers and editors recommend the spirits that they’re enjoying most right now.
The pandemic sped up a lot of trends in the drinks industry. One that has had some staying power as things opened up is the prevalence of ready to drink cocktails that actually taste good. Which is a relief for anyone who enjoys an at-home cocktail but is tired of fully stocking their home bar and having to wash their bar tools whenever thirst strikes. And sure, it’s easy to go to bars again and have something made for you, but it’s even easier to pour a cocktail straight from a can or bottle, sit back on your couch, and enjoy something that tastes exactly like a beverage you’d be served sitting on a barstool.
At least, that’s the goal of Sunday’s Finest, maker of the Gold Fashioned.
“The Sunday’s Finest drinker isn’t forgoing bars and restaurants at all, but enjoys world-class cocktails outside those four walls as well,” Robby Haynes, founder of Sunday’s Finest, which makes the Gold Fashioned, tells me over email. “Our customers are eager to create unique experiences for themselves and those they love regardless of the time and location. Maybe it’s a lovely dinner party to celebrate a best friend’s promotion or maybe it’s a generous holiday gift for the cocktail lover in their life.”
Haynes knows his way around a bar and the production side of spirits. He was part of the opening team at The Violet Hour in Chicago in 2007, helped develop the Swedish wormwood liqueur BËSK in 2012, opened the Chicago cocktail bar Analogue in 2013, and launched Apologue Liqueurs in 2017.
The first version of the Gold Fashioned released in 2021, and it’s back again with a few slight changes.
ABV: 42.2 percent ABV (84 proof)
Where it’s available: Only 3,000 bottles were made of the Gold Fashioned, and you can purchase one online through the Sunday’s Finest website.
How Sunday’s Finest the Gold Fashioned 2022 Is Made
The Gold Fashioned is a fancy riff on an Old Fashioned — the perfect cocktail for punching up from the three base ingredients of whiskey, bitters, and sugar. Part of the Gold Fashioned’s elevation comes from the expert-backed creation, and part of it comes from the ingredients.
This year, the age statement of the oldest Kentucky bourbon in the mix was bumped up to a 15 year, versus the eight year used in the 2021 version. Also in the mix is a nine-year-old Kentucky bourbon and six-year Indiana rye whiskey, the latter of which gives it a touch of balancing spice. (Though rye is the traditional Old Fashioned base spirit, bourbon Old Fashioneds often takes center stage these days, or brandy if you’re in Wisconsin.)
It’s the spices that really set the cocktail apart: hand-harvested saffron from Afghanistan, vanilla beans from Tahiti, single-origin cacao nibs from Ecuador, wild-harvest gentian from the French Alps, and European Seville oranges. For the sweetener, The Gold Fashioned uses fair trade demerara sugar from Malawi in east Africa. An orange zest spritzer takes the place of the orange peel garnish.
What Sunday’s Finest The Gold Fashioned 2022 Tastes Like
At its most basic the Gold Fashioned tastes like, well, a really good Old Fashioned. It has a floral honey sweetness to it that leads into just the right amount of bite from the bourbon and rye and light fruitiness. The orange zest spray is a nice touch, and the citrus brightens the drink up. I won’t claim to be able to taste each of the worldly ingredients used to make the Gold Fashioned, but it’s safe to say that the balance is just right: everything added enhances the flavor of the bourbon rather than masks it.
Why You Should Add Sunday’s Finest The Gold Fashioned 2022 to Your Bar Cart
With the quality of a bar comes the price of a bar. The Gold Fashioned is $150 for a 750 ml bottle. That comes out to about 12 to 13 drinks, or about $12.50 a cocktail. Depending on where you live, that’s about the same, give or take a couple of dollars, as you might pay for an Old Fashioned at a high end cocktail bar — though that one probably doesn’t have the same ingredient pedigree as the Gold Fashioned.
It’s not a casual, end-of-day pour at this price. Save that for an everyday bourbon you like to enjoy neat. The Gold Fashioned when you have some company over, whether it’s just a couple good friends or a dinner party. After all, there’s not much easier of a crowd pleaser than an Old Fashioned poured into a nice rocks glass with a big ice cube in it — even better when you don’t have to do any of the mixing yourself.
Sunday’s Finest suggests finishing the bottle within 90 days of opening (and it doesn’t need to be refrigerated), but it won’t go bad past that time. What’s more, it probably won’t last more than 90 days once you get a taste.