If you like to keep up with popular cocktail recipes, then you're no stranger to the intense and simple flavors of the Old Fashioned cocktail that's prepared and served in the traditional rocks glass. The smooth texture and the sugary undertones are what set this drink apart from most other whiskey-based drinks.
It's a drink made for slow sipping. Poured over a large cube of ice that keeps it perfectly chilled yet doesn't water it down. This cocktail is perfect for a night spent with a few close friends chatting away...
If you're anything like me, then you love the idea of experimenting with different flavors and mixing drinks at home. If you wish to master the Old Fashioned cocktail with just a handful of ingredients that you won't have to splurge on, then read on to find the perfect little recipe that will only take two minutes of your time.
What's an Old Fashioned?
The oldest recipe of an Old Fashioned dated back to the late 1800s and was initially called the 'whiskey cocktail.' It's usually mixed in the same glass it's served in and can be prepared with either rye or bourbon.
You can muddle up a sugar cube with water and bitters to add sweetness to it, or you can use simple syrup instead. A classic old fashioned comes with an orange or lemon twist, but you can combine both if you prefer the tanginess. I am allergic to oranges, so I always leave that off, but I love to add cherries.
Lately, people have started adding cherries and orange slices to the drink. There's nothing wrong with that if you wish to spruce up the flavor, but make sure that it doesn't take away from the rich and dominant character of the whiskey.
What's Inside an Old Fashioned?
The most crucial element of an Old Fashioned is the bourbon whiskey. It sits at the forefront of the flavor profile, which is why you need to make sure you have a quality bourbon whiskey at hand. Some of my personal favorites include Eagle Rare, Four Roses, and Bulleit.
Bitters are a blend of spices and herbs that act as salt and pepper in cocktails. When you're mixing an old fashioned drink, you can't go wrong with a few dashes of Angostura bitters. I had an old fashioned a few years back in Ft Worth that had pecan bitters, and now that is my go-to flavor at home.
Bitters are a necessary element of most cocktails because they help keep the ingredients together and add some bitterness to the flavor. A little bit is more than enough, or you'll change the taste completely.
A good cocktail needs the right balance of ingredients. You need the strength of the alcohol, a little bitterness, and some much-needed sweetness to make a well-rounded drink. For the sweetener, you can use a sugar cube and muddle it with bitters or do it the easier way.
Use simple syrup as it will be a lot quicker to mix in the drink, and you won't have to wait for the sugar crystals to dissolve. Why waste so much time stirring a drink when you could be drinking it?
A twist is simply a thinly sliced peel of orange or lemon that can be twisted over the side of the ice cube to enhance the flavor of the drink. You can also squeeze some of it into the glass before adding it.
If you like the occasional fruit in your cocktail, then you can also add a slice of orange or cherry to it.
Mixing the Perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail
There are two common ways of mixing drinks. Shake it if it's a concoction of dairy, juice, or egg whites, or stir if it only contains spirits. As we've established above, an Old Fashioned is a stirred drink. There isn't much that can go wrong with a classic Old Fashioned on the rocks.
Traditionalists usually prefer making an Old Fashioned with rye whiskey, but bourbon is the more popular choice. It's up to you how you want your drink to taste, but make sure all the flavors – the sweetness, bitterness, and fruitiness, complement each other perfectly.
The following recipe will show you how to make an Old Fashioned with your choice of whiskey.
What You Need
- 2 ounces of rye or bourbon
- Orange twistor Cherries
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 sugar cube or 1 bar spoon of simple syrup
- 1 large ice cube
- Add the sugar cube and the bitters in a rocks glass or a lowball glass.
- Add a bar spoon of water and mix them.
- Pour some rye whiskey or bourbon and stir it well.
- Add one large ice cube or 3-4 smaller ones into the drink. Mix it for about 30 seconds until it's chilled.
- Add an orange twist to the side of the ice cube and serve.
If you're looking for ways to step up your mixing game, then replace the sugar cube or the simple syrup with your choice of Gum Syrup. It will make the drink feel super velvety in your mouth.
A Little Bit of Background
The name 'Old Fashioned' gained popularity after people started asking for a cocktail prepared the 'old-fashioned' way. But how old does the drink have to be to deserve such a fitting name? Here's a bit of background about where the classic Old Fashioned got its origin.
In the year 1862, Jerry Thomas published his book that was a detailed guide for bartenders on mixing drinks. It had a collection of recipes and instructions for your average bartender back in the day.
This book also included a recipe for a cocktail that looks eerily similar to the formula of the classic Old Fashioned but doesn't add the most essential element: whiskey.
Soon after, in 1880, a member of "The Pendennis Club' in Louisville, James E. Pepper, came up with a recipe for the perfect Old Fashioned drink. According to an article written for The Courier-Journal in 2005, he then took the recipe all the way to New York City, and that's where Old Fashioned became a phenomenon that's alive and well to this day.
A Little Bit of Background
There's a reason a drink from the late 1800s is still popular today. All you need is a sugar cube mixed with bitters, a shot of your favorite brand of bourbon whiskey, and an orange or lemon peel, and you can mix and enjoy the perfect Old Fashioned at home.
Instead of downing whiskey straight, dress it up with a blend of your favorite ingredients for a pleasant drinking experience. The traditional recipe doesn't include any additional fruits because they're believed to change the much-beloved flavor of the whiskey, but you can experiment with cherries and orange slices.