Perhaps one of the oldest cocktails still on a menu, the Old-Fashioned lives up to its name.
Some of the earliest mentions of an Old Fashioned date back to the late 1800’s but it may be even older. The first record of a cocktail can be found in 1806 and is noted as including spirits, sugar, waters, and bitters – by all accounts the very first cocktail may have been an Old Fashioned. What’s important here is that the Old Fashioned is a true classic, and knowing how to make a perfect one is critical before you start to deviate.
The basics of the Old Fashioned are simple; good quality bourbon or rye, sugar, water, and bitters. One of the biggest things to remember is that in an old fashioned, quality is key. With so few ingredients if you have a subpar spirit or odd tasting ice, it’s going to be noticeable.
One of the biggest debates is about sugar – do you use muddled sugar or simple syrup? The difference can be extreme. Each affects viscosity in different ways, with sugar making the drink slightly less viscous and syrup watering it down. When using syrup, you’ll want to adjust your ice ratio to accommodate the added water.
Chilled Old Fashioned
- 2 oz. Good Quality Rye or Bourbon
- 1/2 tsp. Sugar
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Preparation: Add the sugar and bitters to a rocks glass and lightly muddle. Add the bourbon and ice and gently stir to combine. Express an orange peel over the glass and use as garnish.
Once you have the basic down, it’s time to explore! The beauty of an Old Fashioned is that it leaves so much room for experimentation. Try it with different spirits, swap out the sugar for maple syrup, play with different types of bitters – it’s all up to you!
Created by world-renowned bartender, Julio Cabrera, the Cardenal Old Fashioned puts high-end Spanish Brandy at the helm of the drink.
The Akashi-Tai Sake Old Fashioned by Robert Mercier uses plum sake and hibiscus syrup for a refreshing take on the cold-weather classic.
Fuse your Old Fashioned with a dose of caffeine by using a cold-brew liqueur in a Cold Brew Old Fashioned.