How to make an Old Fashioned – a simple American classic. This version substitutes orange zest for the traditional orange peel garnish and incorporates 2 simple syrups, elevating it to its fullest potential!
The Old Fashioned.
So-called, in the late 1800s, because cocktails had become so encumbered with newfangled ingredients that bar patrons began to request the simpler, “old fashioned” concoctions they used to enjoy. And the Old Fashioned is about as simple as it gets: just bourbon (or rye) whiskey, sugar & bitters. Easy, right? It is. But with so few ingredients it’s crucial that each one shines.
Sometimes an unadorned glass of whisk(e)y can be hard to beat. The finest examples are flavorful, complex, and balanced – precisely what a great cocktail strives to be. If all spirits were that impeccable we might never be inclined to add anything to them, but that is simply not the case – most whiskies could use a leg up. And that, to me, is what this American classic is all about: giving the base spirit just enough of a nudge to help it realize its potential.
So let’s start with the whiskey…
Fill a mixing glass with 2 ounces of bourbon, or rye – as good as you can afford without breaking the bank. Old Forester’s “Signature 100 Proof” bourbon, or Rittenhouse’s “100 Proof” rye, are good entry-level choices. But do your research! Whiskies vary radically, and with all the choices out there it’s easy to pay too much money for an inferior product. I’ll often check with www.whiskybase.com to see what the global community of whisky geeks thinks of different bottles.
To that, add about a teaspoon of orange zest. This is an unorthodox take on the traditional orange peel garnish, but it imparts more flavor. (If you prefer to stick with convention: once the drink is made, cut a 3-4″ long strip of orange peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler, sharply bend the strip with the skin (orange) side out to express the oils, then rub the bruised skin around the rim of the glass before dropping it in.)
Now for the sweet part. Historical purists will opt to muddle a sugar cube in an empty glass, with bitters, and/or a little water, until the sugar dissolves – but I prefer simple syrup for its smoother texture. And not just one: I use a blend of half a teaspoon each of regular and honey simple syrups. Honey is a common characteristic of American whiskies, so it’s a nice fit.
Finish with a dash or two of Angostura bitters, then stir to combine, and strain over a large chunk of ice (the larger the cube, the slower it will melt and dilute the drink) set into an 8 or 10-ounce “rocks” or “old fashioned” glass.
And that’s it! Our take on a deservedly venerated classic.
Hope you enjoy this Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe… let us know what you think in the comments below.
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Here’s how to make an Old Fashioned Cocktail- a simple American classic. This version substitutes orange zest for the traditional orange peel garnish and incorporates 2 simple syrups, elevating it to its fullest potential!
- 2 ounces bourbon (or rye) whiskey
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon honey simple syrup
- 1–2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Honey Simple Syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup hot water
- Make the simple syrups. Heat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Whisk together 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup hot water in a heat-resistant mixing glass. Allow to cool.
- Combine: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, stir until well-combined, then strain over a large chunk of ice placed into an 8-10 ounce “rocks” or “old fashioned” glass.
Keywords: old fashioned, old fashioned cocktail, classic old fashioned cocktail, how to make an old fashioned.