The Old Fashioned, our go to drink for those times when we want a little more than a neat sipper. When venturing out and about, we’ve had some delicious Old Fashioned’s but we’ve also had our fair share of some bad ones as well. A great Old Fashioned in my opinion is well balanced between sweet and bitter, gives you the opportunity to taste all the ingredients in the drink, and leaves you thinking about ordering a second one. Here are few essentials for creating a delicious Old Fashioned.
1) Bourbon. You are going to want to have a decent bourbon but there is no need to pull out a top notch bottle for this cocktail, it is not necessary. Go with a favorite choice for an everyday drink and one that is between 80 and 95 proof. Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey 81, Old Forester, Buffalo Trace, and Woodford Reserve make excellent choices. All of these bourbons add great characteristics to the drink and do not overpower the cocktail, instead they mix well and even enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
2) Sugar. More specifically, one sugar cube. A single sugar cube is the perfect amount of sugar to muddle with a splash of water and bitters. If you’ve had a bad Old Fashioned before, you may have noticed it was overly sweet. This is a common mistake bartenders make and it can without a doubt ruin the cocktail. We suggest sticking to just one sugar cube, you can always go from here and adjust to taste.
3) Bitters. It used to be Angostura’s world but things have changed. Angostura Bitters are fine and are more than deserving of a space on your shelf but there are numerous other options out there and you can even craft your own bitters. We enjoy using Dashfire Bitters, specifically their Brandy Old Fashioned Bitters, as they add a nice spice to the cocktail.
4) Water. Stick with simple straight water, we like spring water or drinking water as they are simple and pure tasting. Avoid using seltzer, tonic, or sparkling water.
5) Ice. Large, slow melting cubes are best as they keep the cocktail chilled and don’t water it down like smaller cubes. Molds are available online as well as in local stores and usually come in round and square shapes.
6) Fruit. Ever order an Old Fashioned at a bar and it looks like a fruit bowl when it arrives? Keep it simple. A small twist of an orange peel will add some zest to the drink and can be thrown over the side as a garnish. Drop in a maraschino cherry and call it a day. If fruit is not your thing, just order it simply without fruit.
2 oz. bourbon of choice
3 dashes bitters of choice
1 sugar cube
1 splash of water
orange twist for garnish
1 maraschino cherry
In an Old Fashioned glass muddle sugar cube, water, and bitters. Add ice and maraschino cherry, pour in bourbon and stir gently for 30 seconds. Hold an orange peel over the glass and twist, hand over side of glass for garnish. Enjoy.