The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. It’s a drink that exudes sophistication and elegance, and sipping on one transports me back to a bygone era. When it comes to cocktail recipes, the Old Fashioned is one that every bartender should have in their repertoire. In this article, I’ll share my favorite Old Fashioned recipe and offer some personal touches and commentary along the way.
The History of the Old Fashioned
Before diving into the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind this iconic cocktail. The Old Fashioned dates back to the early 19th century and is considered one of the oldest known cocktails. It originated as a simple blend of spirits, water, sugar, and bitters, making it a true classic in every sense.
Over the years, the Old Fashioned has undergone various adaptations and additions, but its essence remains the same. It’s a testament to the fact that sometimes, simplicity is the key to perfection.
My Perfect Old Fashioned Recipe
Now, let’s get down to business and talk about my preferred Old Fashioned recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 ounces of bourbon (I prefer a high-quality, small-batch bourbon for a rich and complex flavor)
- 1 sugar cube (you can also use simple syrup if you prefer)
- A few dashes of Angostura bitters
- A strip of orange zest
- A cherry for garnish (optional)
- Ice cubes
To begin, place the sugar cube at the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters directly onto the sugar cube, allowing it to soak in. Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to gently muddle the sugar and bitters together, creating a paste-like consistency.
Next, add the bourbon to the glass and stir well to combine. This will help dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors together. Take your time with this step, as a well-stirred cocktail is a thing of beauty.
Now it’s time to add the ice. Fill the glass with ice cubes, allowing them to chill the cocktail without diluting it too much. Stir gently to chill the drink and ensure all the flavors are properly incorporated.
To finish, express the oils from the orange zest over the glass, then twist it and drop it into the drink. This adds a delightful citrus aroma and enhances the overall drinking experience. If desired, garnish with a cherry for an extra pop of color.
Personal Touches and Commentary
While the classic Old Fashioned recipe is a thing of beauty, I also enjoy adding a personal touch to make it even more special. Here are a few ideas:
- Experiment with different types of bitters. While Angostura bitters are the traditional choice, there are countless other options available. Try using orange bitters, chocolate bitters, or even coffee bitters for a unique twist.
- Consider using a flavored simple syrup instead of a sugar cube. Infusing your simple syrup with flavors like vanilla, cinnamon, or even lavender can take your Old Fashioned to the next level.
- Try using different spirits. While bourbon is the classic choice, you can also make an Old Fashioned with rye whiskey, brandy, or even aged rum. Each spirit brings its own unique flavor profile to the cocktail.
- Play around with the garnishes. Instead of a traditional cherry, try using a dehydrated orange wheel, a sprig of fresh mint, or even a Luxardo cherry for an elevated touch.
The Old Fashioned is a timeless cocktail that never fails to impress. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or put your own spin on it, this drink is a true crowd-pleaser. So next time you’re looking to impress your guests or simply treat yourself to a well-crafted libation, give the Old Fashioned a try. Cheers!