How To Make A Bourbon Old Fashioned
Step 1 – Add the biggest piece of ice you can to an Old Fashioned glass. If you don’t have a round ice mold, just use as little ice as possible so it won’t dilute the bourbon.
Step 2 – Either add 2 sugar cubes and a splash of water or 1 ½ ounces of simple syrup to the glass.
Step 3 – Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters and an orange peel, and stir.
Step 4 – Add ice.
Step 5 – Add 2 ounces of your favorite bourbon or whiskey and let sit for a moment, then gently stir so the flavors combine. Enjoy!
Why Is It Called An Old
Modern drinkers can relate to the story of the old-fashioned. This cocktail sparked the same type of “old versus new” debates in the late 19th-century bar that modern “martini” menus produce today. In truth, the old-fashioned was considered “old-fashioned” over a hundred years ago.
Around the 1880s, the American cocktail scene really started to boom. Bartenders were creating new drinks with curaçao, absinthe, syrups, and fruit juices, and they were a hit. There were, of course, the holdouts, those nostalgic drinkers who wanted a simple drink with a kick like they got in the “old days.” To them, all of the fancy stuff was a waste of time. After countless newspaper editorials and bar debates, the old-fashioned got its official name. It was first published under the name in Theodore Proulx’s 1888 “The Bartenders Manual.”
A Traditional Old Fashioned
Whiskey seems to be the alcohol of choice, but you also use bourbon or rye. The traditional recipe uses 2 ounces of whiskey, followed by sugar, orange peel, and a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
Throughout the years, people have added soda water, powdered sugar, cherries, pineapples, and other sweet, juicy fruits. The result is a tasty, refreshing cocktail that appeals to just about anyone.
So thats the effect were going for here, which can be done in several different ways. The key is muddled fruit, which starts with picking the right type of fruit.
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Runner Up Best Budget: Spooky
Courtesy of Amazon
While the Hella is a great pick for those who like an orange wedge muddled into their drink, this one is for drinkers who like to muddle a handful of cherries into their Old Fashioned. Its easy drinking and not too spiceda great pick for casual Old Fashioned sipping or a summertime Old Fashioned filled with plenty of ice and topped with a veritable fruit salad of a garnish.
If youre stocking a bar for a party, pick up a 750-ml bottle of this cherry-forward mix. Try it with brandy for a retro Wisconsin-style Old Fashioned and dont forget to garnish with a couple of maraschino cherries.
Check Out The Conversation Here
Tim McKirdy: Hey, this is Tim McKirdy, and welcome to VinePairs Cocktail College, a weekly deep dive into classic cocktails that goes beyond the recipe with Americas best bartenders. The Old Fashioned might not lay claim to the title of worlds oldest cocktail, but its influence on modern mixology, and its place in popular culture is unquestionable. Put simply, in todays world, any bartender worth their salt has to have perfected the Old Fashioned. Today, were going to learn how to do that with Eric Alperin, best known as the co-owner of The Varnish in L.A., a bar he opened in 2009 with his mentor, the late Sasha Petraske. Beyond ingredients, ratios, and building techniques, were going to explore things like the importance of ice, the overlap of theater and mixology, and why this drink, more than any other, is so closely tied to the revival of cocktail culture. Well also hear from Eric about how he schooled one of Hollywoods biggest names on how to make the Old Fashioned, which culminated in what is, perhaps, the best cocktail creation scene in cinematic history. Do you know which one were talking about? Buckle up, listener. Were about to find out. Eric Alperin, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.
Eric Alperin: Absolutely, Tim. Thanks for having me on this inaugural journey. I think this is No. 1, right?
T: This is No. 1. Im looking forward to taking these first steps with you in the audio land.
E: We will bravely go together.
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Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail
- Holland gin
First, you have to crush a small link of sugar in the whiskey or rock glass using a little water. Assure that the sugar is dissolved. Now put a lump of ice into it. Then, to it, you have to add two dashes of Angostura bitters, one big piece of a lemon peel without the white bitter part of it. Moreover, to it, now you have to add one jigger of Holland gin. Now, mix thoroughly with the small-bar spoon before serving.
How To Make An Old Fashioned Drink
Nothing can go wrong with old things. Do you want to set the mood? Play the songs of Beatles or Led Zeppelin. Do you want to try something indulgent? Find your solace in apple pie. Do you want to have something to drink? It is time for you to make that old fashioned drink. While we are sure you have tried it at least once in your lifetime in a bar. However, if you have not tasted it even once, you need to make it now.
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The Classic Old Fashioned Recipe
The basic Old Fashioned combines whisky with bitters, sugar and a citrus peel garnish. It is usually served in a tumbler or rocks glass over ice.
Ingredients:1 teaspoon sugar/ sugar cubeLemon or orange peel
Method:The bitters are traditionally Angostura, while the sugar could come in the form of a sugar cube, sugar granules or even a simple syrup . Mix/ muddle the sugar and bitters together in a tumbler a drop of water here can help dissolve the sugar.
Add a pour of whisky and a few cubes of ice, stir and garnish with a lemon or orange peel twist. Today, an orange peel seems to be more fashionable than a lemon peel, though its a matter of personal preference. For instance, cocktail and spirits historian David Wondrich mentions in his book Imbibe! he prefers a lemon peel with rye whisky, and an orange peel with Bourbon.
Best Budget: Hella Cocktail Co
Courtesy of Amazon
What started as a weekend hobby of brewing bitters has grown into a successful cocktail company with placements everywhere from Whole Foods to Delta Airlines. Now, Hella crafts a range of products from bitters to canned drinks to mixes, including a vibrant Old Fashioned mix.
The instructions on the mix calls for additional bitters, but they arent completely necessary. Without adding bitters, a cocktail made with this mix smells like Christmas with notes of clove-studded oranges. Its bright and citrusyperfect for those who like an orange muddled in their Old Fashioned. The addition of bitters helps balance out that citrus fruit, adding weight and depth. Try it with the standard whiskey or mix it up with rum or aged tequila.
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The Pendennis Club Myth
For decades, the creation of the old-fashioned was attributed to the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. David Wondrich points out in his book “Imbibe!” that this is false: The club opened in 1881, but a year before that, “old-fashioned cocktails” were mentioned in the Chicago Tribune. There was even an “ambiguous newspaper squib” that mentioned old-fashioned drinks as early as 1869.
In truth, the old-fashioned formula dates back to the 1850s, if not earlier. It was made with whiskey, brandy, or gin . It was quite simply liquor, sugar , and ice. Add bitters, and you have the original definition of a cocktail.
What Is An Old Fashioned Drink
Before we move forward to sharing the old fashioned drink recipe, lets first unearth the delicious chronological study of the drink itself. For those who have never tried it once, the old fashioned drink is a form of cocktail. It contains muddling sugar with bitter and water. Moreover, it contains whiskey or brandy as its base. Although brandy is used in the drink less commonly. The drink is then garnished with an orange slice or lemon zest along with a cocktail cherry. Furthermore, the drink is served in an old-fashioned glass to elicit a sense of traditionalism.
The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson said of cocktails in 1806. They claimed that it is a mix of spirits, bitter, sugar, and water. It is the essential base of the old-fashioned drink. However, as time went by, the recipe became complex. Moreover, many new variations of cocktails also appeared throughout the era.
While most of the mixture of the drink used rum, gin, or brandy as the base, the inclusion of sugar and nutmeg as a garnish remained the same. With increasing complexity, many wanted something akin to the 1850s drink. Hence, the original cocktail remained in fashion even after many adaptations. Thus, it came to know as old-fashioned.
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Which Bourbon Brand Is Best In An Old Fashioned
We tried as many bourbons as we could get our hands on that would be widely available. The bourbon you use will probably have the greatest impact on the taste of the drink. Using a local or small batch bourbon would also be a nice twist on this classic drink if you are able to locate one.
We found the best cocktails were made using one of these three bourbons:
- Angels Envy
The biggest difference in cocktail cherries is the thickness of syrup. It was very interesting to learn that some cherries are dripping in syrup that resembles molasses and some are in a very light syrup that is closer to a light maple syrup.
Since this recipe is really taking that cocktail from decent to Id happily pay for that at a cocktail bar, this is one of those details thats easy to overlook but can be a game changer. Getting a nice jar of cherries significantly improves the drink.
Our favorite thick syrup cherry was the Maraska. Maraska, Luxardo, and Fabbri are all decent cherries and enjoyable, but wed go for Maraska if you can find them.
Our favorite light syrup cherry was the Woodford Reserve cherry. However, the Jack Rudy was almost equally enjoyable.
How To Muddle Fruit
Muddling fruit is quite simple . All you do is squish the heck out of your fruit until you get out as much juice as possible.
You can use a wooden spoon, but spring for a muddler if you can. This is a tool thats used like a pestle to grind herbs and fruit for cocktails. Using one seems self-explanatory: push down, twist, repeat. Get your hands on our favorite muddler right here.
However, using too much force can release the oils from the peel. That makes for a rather bitter drink, which isnt the point of an Old Fashioned. Pressing too hard can also break the glass, especially if you dont have a thick-bottomed cup.
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Did You Make This Recipe
Tag on Instagram and hashtag it #mom4real
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This Kentucky Lemonade is a little like the Arnold Palmer without the sweet tea. It’s best made with good bourbon, and can be enjoyed all year round!
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Do Whiskey Glasses Make A Difference
So, do whiskey glasses make a difference? Yes! Whiskey glasses make a difference. and its really significant difference about it. A lot of people think that whiskey glasses are just for show and there is no difference between the two types of glasses. But the truth is that there is a huge difference between them. The first thing you need to know about whiskey glasses is that they come in different shapes and sizes. The most common shapes are tumblers, rocks glasses, long stem and short stem glasses.
The whiskey glass you use has a significant impact on the taste of your drink. This is due to its form, which has an effect on two things:
- How much ethanol evaporates and, thus, how much taste opens up.
- The ability of the whiskey scents to collect and hence be perceived.
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Sugar Cube Or Simple Syrup
Old Fashioned purists say the proper thing to do is to muddle a sugar cube with the bitters in the bottom of the rocks glass. Non-purists, like myself, think that’s nice but the sugar never seems to fully dissolve this way. Either my muddling skills are weak , or there might be another way.
I’m in favor of using simple syrup for an Old Fashioned because it’s easy and convenient. Here’s how to make it.
Bitters Orange And Cherries
We add two to three dashes of bitters. Our standby is Angostura bitters, but one look in a well stocked store or online proves there are lots to experiment with.
Depending on who makes it, the amount of fruit added to an Old Fashioned varies. Weve seen everything from multiple slices of orange and an abundance of cherries muddled together then served in the glass to an Old Fashioned with no fruit whatsoever.
We like somewhere in between. A 2-inch piece of orange or blood orange peel and a cherry and were happy.
If were feeling feisty, well go for a flaming orange twist. To do it, take a coin-sized slice of orange peel , squeeze it between your fingers and light a match or lighter next to it .
The oils will spark and flame out. If you do all of this close to or over the glass, a toasted orange aroma will fall down over the drink. We dont add the flamed peel to the drink, but rubbing the flamed peel around the rim of the glass is a nice touch.
The flavor and aroma of the drink really changes and while we dont do this all the time, its fun to experience the difference.
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The 11 Best Bourbons For An Old Fashioned
When considering the best bourbon for an Old Fashioned it goes without saying, but a quality bourbon is essential here, even more so than many other cocktails. Yet, with so many bourbons to choose from, where to start? Thats a great question and why we put together this list of the 11 best bourbons for an Old Fashioned.
Each bourbon listed below is both readily available and of high quality. But most importantly, any bourbon listed below will take your Old Fashioned game to the next level! If youre looking for the best bourbon for an Old Fashionedyouve come to the right place.
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The History Of The Old Fashioned
One of the oldest cocktails around youll find the first printed mention of it in 1806 however as with many drinks the official creator is quite a mystery. According to some the old fashioned was created by James. E. Pepper who was a bartender at a social club in Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s there were many mentions of the old fashioned recipes in books including in the 1895 Modern American Drinks book written by G. Kappeler in which the classic recipe above is found.
Going into the 1930s and in 1936 it was mentioned in a New York Times article how during prohibition many bartenders would make a glass with sugars, bitters and ice and pass to patrons who would then add their own illegal spirits into the glass and enjoy.
Later on many bartenders and bars tried variations on the drink, adding additional spirits, many customers werent too impressed and simply wanted it the Old Fashioned way.
Make your own Old Fashioneds at home
If you want to make a great Old Fashioned at home, without having to buy full-sized bottles of all the ingredients, check out our Old Fashioned cocktail kit. It makes up to 6 drinks, and also teaches you how to make a Sazerac, another absolute classic!
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Dont: Muddle Your Cherries
If you prefer your Old Fashioned with a cherry, just make sure not to muddle it in the glass. This is not a drink that needs a bold punch of cherry flavor or fruit floating around. Instead, add it later as a garnish, and make sure to opt for a brand such as Luxardo over the neon maraschino cherry, which is full of chemicals and dye.
Best Canned Rtd Old Fashioned: Dashfire
Courtesy of Total Wine
Heading out on a camping trip? Stock up on a few cans of this ready-to-drink Old Fashioned to sip around the bonfire. And we do mean sip. With its woodsy, piney notes and spice-laden flavor, it packs some heat and should be savored. Its as delicious as it is portable, made with four different bitters, bourbon, and natural sugar cane juice.
While you can, of course, pour it into a glass over ice with a cherry and an orange twist, its also perfectly acceptable to drink straight from the can. So, keep some in the fridge and upgrade your next al fresco happy hour.
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