Monday, April 2, 2012

the old fashioned

The Old Fashioned cocktail is the perfect drink for a vintage lover--the name alone!--and it's about as classic as a classic cocktail gets.  It's among the oldest of cocktails, dating back to the day when a cocktail was defined as a mixture of spirits, bitters, sugar and water.  (Those, actually, are the ingredients of an Old Fashioned.)  

I'd tried making Old Fashioneds at home and wasn't happy with the results--too sweet or not sweet enough, not well mixed, and always with a grainy white sugar mess at the bottom.  I'd started to give in to the idea that I would need to have simple syrup on hand to get it right, but my favorite local bartender, Steven at the Viceroy convinced me that all I needed was a sprinkle of brown sugar.  With that advice, and the clear instructions on the Old Fashioned 101 website, I have managed to make an at-home Old Fashioned that makes me happy.

What you need:
*Good quality bourbon or rye (I used Bulleit Rye)
*sugar--simple syrup, or just white or brown sugar
*bitters, ideally Angostura, but orange can be used, too
*lemon or orange twist

Cut off a small piece of lemon or orange peel--either a chunky bit like I did, or a fancy twist.

Put a wee bit of simple syrup in the glass.  Or--even better--put a tiny bit of sugar in the glass.  I used light brown sugar.  That's just a tip-of-a-teaspoon's worth.  Put that in your glass, pour a  little bit of water over it, and stir until the sugar dissolves.  It won't take long at all.

Add two dashes of Angostura or orange bitters.  Or a dash of each.  Then 2 ounces of bourbon or rye, and stir.  Taste this mixture.  You can add a little bit more water if you like, but it will likely be just fine as is, depending on the quality of liquor used.  Twist your bit of lemon and orange peel over the drink, peel side down, in order to spray the essential oils of the peel over the drink.  Add a single ice cube if desired.




  1. Yum! I've never made an Old Fashion before, but I think I'm going to try this weekend. Love the ME glass.

  2. I'm not much of a bourbon fan and I've never had an Old Fashioned… you may have convinced me that I should try one!

  3. What?! No maraschino cherry? I didn't think it could be called an Old Fashioned without one. ;-) Of course, I guess if you're not into red dye no. 40...

    I've only had a Faculty Club Old Fashioned. The Faculty Club was the only place on the University of Oklahoma campus to get a drink and the end-of-year departmental awards cocktail parties and dinners were always held there. I wasn't terribly impressed with the Old Fashioned at the time, but I have since discovered that not all whiskies are created equal! I'll have to give your recipe a try--with the good stuff.

    1. Lauren, I don't know about maraschinos in Old Fashioneds--are you maybe thinking of the Manhattan? It's a traditional garnish in Manhattans, but I'm not a fan (I prefer an orange twist). Yep, you should use a good bourbon/rye for this one, as you don't really cut it with much else!


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