How to mix a Brandy Old-fashioned

After a long year toiling at Taskmaster Towers, your humble correspondent is set to take a couple of weeks’ rest back at the ranch in Parts Unknown.


But do not fear, dear reader, as today you’ll read the most important piece of advice presented in this column all year: how to mix a Brandy Old-fashioned.


In terms of preparation, you’ll need to freeze a tumbler (preferably a proper lowball glass), cut a thick slice of lemon and orange, and crush some ice.


To start, pour one teaspoon (more or less to taste) of sugar solution into the bottom of your glass, followed by two dashes of bitters.


Next, drop in a cherry, as well as your lemon and orange slices, then muddle the fruit, sugar syrup and bitters into a paste (whatever you do, don’t muddle the peel as it will make your drink bitter).


Pour in two 30ml shots of your favourite brandy, preferably a nice Cognac or Armagnac, and stir.


Finally, top up your glass with crushed ice and soda water. Your drink is ready to serve.


Around about this point, while sipping on your Brandy Old-fashioned, you’ll be asking yourself what this has to do with your business.


Well, the end of the year is finally here. For many, that means spending Christmas or New Year’s Day with friends and family.


Even if you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has to work on both days, you should at the very least give yourself a day off sometime soon in lieu.


Set aside time when you can kick back, put your feet up, slowly sip a Brandy Old-fashioned, and think about the big picture.


In the day-to-day struggle to get a business off the ground, you’ve probably spent a good part of the year focusing on the current crisis or next challenge. The next meeting, software iteration, form or deadline has been your primary focus.


But it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the process. That includes not just your long-term business plan, but also your personal life and your relationships with friends and family.


The problem is, if you have distractions in your personal life, it can be difficult to give your business the attention it deserves.


Old Taskmaster says this: set aside some time to kick back and savour a Brandy Old-fashioned, while thinking through the things you need to do, both personally and professionally, to make 2014 a success.


Until next time, have a safe holiday, a productive new year, and a happy festivus!


And get it done – in 2014!


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