What Is Traditional Bourbon
According to the traditional bourbon recipe, approximately 70% of the grain should be corn, with roughly equal amounts of barley and rye. There are plenty of beers in this group, such as Knob Creek, Jim Beam, and Wild Turkey. Youll also find the spicy high-rye recipe, which includes a rye content thats higher.
It Began As The Whiskey Cocktail
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail of evolution, and there is no one person to pin for its so-called invention. What we do know is that by the time cocktail recipe books began appearing in the late 19th century, what we would call an Old Fashioned today was often under the title of Whiskey Cocktail.
Perusing the pages of different iterations of barman Harry Johnsons Bartenders Manual is an excellent example of seeing that change over time. The 1887 first edition offers up the Whiskey Cocktail with gum syrup, ice, Angostura or Bokers bitters, a couple of dashes of curaçao, and whiskey. By 1887, he ditched the Angostura. By 1900, he swapped the syrup for raw sugar and called for a couple of dashes of curaçao or absinthe. All iterations got a lemon twist expressed over the top.
What Is An Old Fashioned Neat
The first and simplest term were going to examine is neat. Neat as applied to drinks served in bars refers to a shot of liquor poured directly from the bottle and into a glass. There is no chilling involved with a neat drink. There is never an additional ingredient in a drink served neat.
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Standard Old Fashioned Recipe
2-4 oz bourbon of choice2-3 dashes of bittersFew dashes of plain waterBurnt orange peel to garnishLarge ice cube
Step 1 In a rocks glass, muddle together the bitters and the sugar.Step 2 Add few dashes of plain waterStep 3 Add ice into the glass, then pour the bourbon over the top.Step 4 Next stir gently.Step 5 Cut small peal off orange and burn it with a lighterStep 6 Use the burnt orange peel to garnish the drink.Step 7 Sip and enjoy.
Its quite common that once you master the standard Old Fashioned youll want to experiment with a few other variations. Below are two spins I really enjoy.
Did You Make This Recipe
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The Bourbon Arnold Palmer is the perfect summer drink for bourbon and whiskey lovers. Its a refreshing summer treat made with lemonade and sweet tea!
This Kentucky Lemonade is a little like the Arnold Palmer without the sweet tea. Its best made with good bourbon, and can be enjoyed all year round!
The Classic Mint Julep is a delicious Kentucky Derby inspired cocktail that is typically served in a silver julep cup, but no worriesthis delicious concoction can be enjoyed in any glass you have!
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Best Whiskey For An Old Fashioned
Every cocktail bar seems to have its own take on the classic old fashioned cocktail. For fans of boozy cocktails, this definitely isn’t a bad affair. A well-made old fashioned with its carbohydrate, water, Angostura bitters, and whiskey with orange oils and a ruddy garnish is simple, elegant, and perfectly warming on a cold wintertime night.
Equally with all cocktails, it’s all about the balance between the ingredients. Nobody wants an overly sweet old fashioned and if information technology’s besides boozy, you lot might every bit well simply potable your favorite whiskey on the rocks.
While nosotros love a spicy, peppery rye whiskey former fashioned, today we’re turning our attention to sweeter, corn-centric bourbon. To notice the all-time bottles, we asked some notable bartenders and mixologists to tell us their favorite bourbons to mix into a wintry old fashioned. Continue scrolling to encounter all of their picks.
What Is The Best Bitters For An Old Fashioned
Cocktail Tonic: 8 Best Bitters For An Old Fashioned Regans Orange Bitters No. Jack Rudy Aromatic Bitters. Peychauds Aromatic Cocktail Bitters. Bittermilk No.4 New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge. Angostura Bitters. Hella Smoked Chili Bitters. Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters. Bar Keep Organic Apple Bitters.
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The 11 Best Bourbonsfor An Old Fashioned
There is no bad bourbon. There are only some bourbons that arent as good as others.-Raymon Chandler
Yes, the bourbon quality is important. But selecting the best bourbon for an old fashioned means considering many things, like your budget, tasting notes, how practical you want to be, and of course, personal preference.
Related: How is Bourbon Made?
Before we get to the list of the 11 best bourbons for an Old Fashioned, one quick note- I dont believe in wasting an expensive bourbon making an Old Fashioned . Which is why you wont find anything over $50 on this list. $50 is the absolute max I would spend on a bourbon if I knew I was using it to make an Old Fashioned. Anything more expensive than that seems like a waste of the taste .
I know youre here to learn about the best bourbons for an Old Fashioned, but before you do, its important you know how to make one one.
Elements Of An Old Fashioned
Whiskey: Both rye and bourbon offer different flavor profiles. Bourbon is slightly sweeter and rounder, whereas rye introduces a peppery bite. Either way, youll want something high in proof as this extra alcohol will stand up to the dilution from melting ice.
Try: Knob Creek, W.L. Weller Antique, Bookers, Old Grand-Dad, Bakers, Wild Turkey 101, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, or Rittenhouse.
Glass: The Old Fashioned is one of the few drinks in existence that has a glass named in its honor. The ideal glass should be between eight to 10 ounces, with a thick heavy bottom.
Ice: This is a sipping cocktail, but you dont want that expensive booze turning into a watery mess. Avoid small cubes and pick up rubber molds or invest in an ice sphere.
Sweetener: While simple syrup works well, other options are to sub in honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar. But, make sure to dilute these with equal parts water.
Bitters: There are dozens of new bitters on the market. The best, however, is still the most common: Angostura. Two healthy dashes will do the trick. Chocolate or walnut bitters work well in this drink if you can find them. I also like Dale DeGroffs pimento bitters.
Technique: The most balanced Old Fashioned is made by stirring the drink with ice for about 20 to 30 seconds and then straining that mix over fresh ice.
Garnish: Orange twist, lemon twist, or both.
Pegu Club’s Old Fashioned
2 dashes Angostura bittersOrange twist
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The Best And Worst Whiskeys To Put In An Old
The old fashioned is a cocktail that is made with whiskey and citrus rinds to add bitters. As whiskey is the main ingredient, it is on the stronger side of cocktails. For fans of the old fashioned, or those interested in trying it for the first time, the type of whiskey used is an important factor in how the drink comes out.
The best whiskeys to use are:
Buffalo Trace Bourbon. This whiskey has notes of caramel and vanilla. It will give you a smooth old fashioned, but with hints of spice . It is great served on the rocks and gives a bit of sophistication to the drink. Also, this is the most affordable whiskey to have on hand for dinner parties .
Four Roses Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This whiskey has notes of butterscotch and caramel, with a hint of spice and red berries. It is an ideal whiskey for mixing and will result in an old fashioned that is light and mellow. Using a citrus garnish will further bring out the flavors .
Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters
These will bring an earthly taste to drinks along with a slight creaminess. This walnut bitter has plenty of natural nutty flavor, followed by the notes of cocoa and cola. Its subtle sweet finish taste offsets its bitterness. The Fee Brothers had their best bitter experts to craft this one to bring the robust nut flavor.
It adds a dimension and complexity to your cocktails, along with having a sour cherry aroma. Try them in your old-fashioned, like a powerful bourbon or any whiskey that is finished in sherry or rum casks.
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If You Want To Experiment Try Different Bitters
Angostura bitters is traditionally used in an Old Fashioned.
You can’t go wrong with Angostura bitters, but if you’re making an Old Fashioned in the winter or around the holidays, I recommend using a few dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters instead. You get way more cinnamon and clove on the nose, like a winter holiday in a bottle.
Whats The Best Sugar In An Old Fashioned
The first question we tried to answer was what kind of sugar tastes best in an Old Fashioned. The second question was if simple syrup or a sugar cube is superior. Therefore, we tested the following sugars in our cocktail:
- Turbinado Simple Syrup
- Maple Syrup
Simple Syrup versus Sugar Cube:
It ended up being very difficult to get any of the sugar cubes to fully dissolve. We tried muddling them, adding them into some of the bourbon, and anything else we could think of. The best trick we had and one that can work in a pinch is to dissolve the sugar cube in hot water first. Its sort of like a quick-and-easy simple syrup. It isnt perfect, but it works if thats all you have or you dont want to make simple syrup.
Simple syrup is superior. It makes mixing and getting the appropriate amount of sweetness much easier.
In our testing, turbinado simple syrup made the best Old Fashioned. We tested turbinado sugar, organic cane sugar, and regular cane sugar simple syrup side by side in otherwise identical cocktails. Although any would work, the turbinado made a more complex Old Fashioned and ended up being the clear winner.
The organic cane sugar was a good alternative, but the regular cane sugar ended up lacking depth of flavor and would be our last choice.
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Choosing The Best Bourbon For Your Old Fashioned
One of the things that can make or break your Old Fashioned is the bourbon that you choose to use. There are so many bourbons that are available on the market today that you might find yourself becoming overwhelmed at the thought of picking the best bourbon for an Old Fashioned.
Thankfully we took the guesswork out of this for you. We went through and tasted different bourbons both on their own and as they had been mixed with the ingredients to form an Old Fashioned.
That being said, my personal favorite bourbon to use for an Old Fashioned is Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon. This is now how I order the drink when I am out at a bar or how I make the drink when I am sitting at home and using bourbon instead of rye.
Some people are not fans of bourbon. But for a bourbon lover, I simply cannot understand why someone would not enjoy a delicious Old Fashioned using Americas Spirit bourbon.
Stay Gold & Drink Up.
About Todd Smidt
Todd is a man of simple tastes: traveling, words, whiskey, & dad jokes. He enjoys first-rate banter, long walks along the coast, High West, and Vonnegut. He spends his free time traveling the world, drinking whiskey, and writing about it.
How To Make A Bourbon Old Fashioned
Step 1 Add the biggest piece of ice you can to an Old Fashioned glass. If you dont have a round ice mold, just use as little ice as possible so it wont 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!
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More Quality Whiskeys For Your Old Fashioned
Bulleit Straight Bourbon Frontier Whiskey. This whiskey has a higher rye content than most, which contributes to an improved balance between the sugar and whiskey. The whiskey is also spicier than others, with a more oaky flavor. It has notes of ginger, black pepper, and vanilla.
Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. This whiskey works great in an old fashioned by giving more depth of flavor than would be expected at the price point . The whiskey features notes of vanilla, molasses, and maple, and is a whiskey of choice at influential cocktail bars.
Rittenhouse Rye. This is an affordable whiskey with notes of pepper, oak, caramel, spice, and a hint of fruit. It has a drier finish . This is the whiskey for people who aren’t big fans of whiskey. It is also the whiskey of choice for Don Draper of Mad Men.
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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What Is An Old Fashioned Cocktail
The Pendennis Club, a crazy classy private social club in Kentucky, touts itself as the birthplace of the old fashioned. Many experts dispute this claim, however, saying that the term was in use before the club was even founded.
Its likely that the drink is called the old fashioned, because it is, in fact, old fashioned. The name comes from people ordering the drink the “old-fashioned way, Thrillistreports.
When cocktails first hit the bar scene in the early 19th century, they had four common ingredients: bitters, sugar, water, and some type of booze. Sound familiar?
People didnt start calling the drink old fashioned until newer combinations of ingredients made it necessary.
A classic old fashioned is made by pouring whiskey over muddled sugar, water, and bitters, then garnishing with an orange peel. These days, the water is often replaced with ice.
There are a few common modifications, including: Garnishing with an orange slice, a maraschino cherry, or both and muddling oranges, cherries, or other fruits along with the bitters.
The drink is always served in an old fashioned glass.
How To Make An Old
How old is the Old-Fashioned?
This whisky cocktail is one of the most famous around. It was given its name in the 1880s when it was named an IBA Official Cocktail, but its history is a lot earlier than that.
In 1806 when a reader of The Balance and Columbian Repository asked the Editor for a definition of the word cocktail, it was described as spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters all the ingredients of an Old-Fashioned. But at the time he referred to it as a bittered sling.
Why is it called an Old-Fashioned?
The name supposedly came from the way people ordered their drinks at the bar. Its namesake apparently came from people asking for their drink to be made the old-fashioned way, using a brown spirit, sugar, water and bitters.
What whisky is best for an Old-Fashioned?
An Old-Fashioned is traditionally made with rye or bourbon, but some like to use Scotch, too.
What is the difference between a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned?
The main difference between the two cocktails, is the ingredient used to sweeten them. An Old-Fashioned uses simple syrup, a syrup made by cooking equal parts sugar and water together, or a sugar cube, while a Manhattan uses sweet red vermouth.
Do you put a cherry in an Old-Fashioned?
You can do! No one is stopping you add a cherry, and many do. However, we love a good orange peel.
sugar cube, or 1 tsp sugar syrup
Orange peel, to garnish
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Best Whiskies To Use In An Old Fashioned
There are two kinds of people in this world . But among drinkers, there’s the kind who’ve had an Old Fashioned, and those who haven’t.
Within those categories are further subdivisions: those who’ve not only had an Old Fashioned cocktail, but have a particular, ardent preference , and inevitably a particular, like Boy Band crazy, brand preference. And then there are those who’ve ordered an Old Fashioned because the mixologist wore suspenders and stared at them with a mixture of hope and sexy impatience. “Old Fashioned, please! Ahem. I love jazz. Anyway. But yeah, an Old Fashioned” Sounds cool, drinks well, earns speakeasy street cred.
And with good reason. The Old Fashioned is a “cocktail” in the truest, most original sense of the termbasically a sugar cube, a splash of water, a couple of dashes of bitters, and 2 ounces of whiskey, it’s still rich and silky and complex like Jared Leto, despite being so apparently Spartan.
Since the Old Fashioned is basically booze, sugar, Angostura bitters, and ice, the whiskey matters. A lot. Not to overwhelmsince whiskey can do thatthe main factors we’re looking for are either a bourbon that isn’t too sweet, a rye that isn’t too spicy, and a whiskey that’s sufficiently high proof and dry to withstand both the sugar cube and ice dilution. Bear in mind, since an Old Fashioned is a mixed drink, you don’t wanna break the bank on either bourbon or rye. Buy decent, but don’t buy extravagantsave that for thoughtful sipping.