Thanks to the enormous popularity of American whiskey, the Old Fashioned has overtaken the Margarita in some surveys of the top cocktail. Bonefish Grill recently added a little flair to its offering with a limited time offer of its Smoked Old Fashioned served in a treasure chest.
The chain’s Smoked Old Fashioned, priced at $12.90, is made with Woodford Reserve bourbon and a touch of maple with Angostura bitters and Bordeaux cherry smoked with oak and served over a large ice cube. It’s the brainchild of Shellby Clites, Bonefish Grill’s former national beverage director/mixologist and Elizabeth McCall, assistant master distiller at Woodford Reserve.
Clites and McCall had noted the rise in women drinking bourbon and wanted a way to open the door even wider for female “bourbonites” by adding flair to traditional cocktails. “We wanted to bring the popular Smoked Old Fashioned on our menu to the next level for the holidays and introduce the bourbon favorite so dramatically that it would entice those who might never have tried the cocktail—or even ordered a bourbon beverage before,” says Clites.
The Bonefish Grill team was looking for something unique that would put a fun twist to the Old Fashioned, McCall says. “And what is more fun than a smoking cocktail served in a small treasure chest with edible gold?” The treasure chest concept also aligned with the fact that Bonefish Grill is a fresh seafood restaurant.
For the cocktail LTO, Bonefish Grill tweaked its Smoked Old Fashioned to include house-made vanilla bean simple syrup, and served the cocktail inside a smoking treasure chest sprinkled with edible gold. The chain working on the concept for a year before rolling it out in its nearly 200 locations for the holiday season.
The Treasure Chest Old Fashioned, priced at $13.50, was such a hit that many guests were doing the beverage marketing for the cocktail. Because of its unique presentation, Clites says, guests would view it from across the restaurant, inquire about it, order it and share videos and photos.
“When one makes its way through the restaurant, everyone wants one, so when it goes out, bartenders know it’s time to get ready to make more,” she notes. “In fact, people would order it throughout their meal—as a first drink and even with dessert.”
The two brands will likely team up on another offering. The Bonefish Grill menu has several bold and spicy entrees, says McCall. With that in mind, “a Woodford Double Oaked or Woodford Rye cocktail would be an excellent option to accompany a flavorful dish.”