The Old Fashioned Cocktail is one of the most iconic and timeless cocktails in existence. Its origins date back to the 19th century, and despite the years, the Old Fashioned Cocktail remains a popular choice in bars and homes around the world. Its simplicity and balance of flavors make it a perfect drink for any occasion. Below, we present the classic recipe for preparing an authentic Old Fashioned Cocktail.
- 60 ml (2 oz) of whiskey (preferably bourbon or rye)
- 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 orange slice
- 1 maraschino cherry (optional)
- Prepare the Glass: Start by placing the sugar cube in a short glass, also known as an Old Fashioned glass. If you don’t have sugar cubes, you can use a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
- Add the Bitters: Add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters to the sugar. Angostura bitters are essential for giving the Old Fashioned its characteristic touch.
- Muddle: With the help of a muddler or the back of a spoon, gently muddle the sugar with the bitters until the sugar partially dissolves.
- Add Ice: Fill the glass with ice to the top. It’s preferable to use a single large cube or ice sphere, as this keeps the drink cold without diluting it too quickly.
- Pour the Whiskey: Add the 60 ml (2 oz) of whiskey over the ice.
- Stir: With a bar spoon, gently stir the mixture to integrate the ingredients well.
- Garnish: Garnish with an orange slice and, if desired, a maraschino cherry. Some people also prefer to lightly squeeze the orange slice over the drink to add a citrusy touch.
- Serve and Enjoy: Your Old Fashioned is ready to be enjoyed! Take it slow and savor each sip.
- Although bourbon is the most commonly used whiskey for the Old Fashioned, don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of whiskey according to your preference.
- If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, you can adjust the amount of sugar to taste.
- For a modern twist, try adding a touch of maple syrup or honey instead of sugar.
The Old Fashioned is proof that good things never go out of style. Whether you enjoy it on a quiet night at home or at a gathering with friends, this classic cocktail is always a winning choice. Cheers!
Variations and Twists: Modern Takes on the Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned, while a timeless classic, has been a canvas for many mixologists to showcase their creativity. Here are some modern takes:
- Smoked Old Fashioned: This variation involves infusing the cocktail with wood smoke for a deep, smoky flavor. Using a smoking gun or a handheld smoker, bartenders introduce flavors like cherrywood or hickory to the drink, giving it a campfire essence that’s perfect for cold evenings.
- Oaxaca Old Fashioned: A fusion of Mexico’s finest spirits, this version blends tequila and mezcal. Agave nectar replaces the traditional sugar, offering a smoother, more organic sweetness. The smokiness of the mezcal contrasts beautifully with the crispness of tequila.
Regional Variations and Their Unique Flavors
Different regions have put their own spin on this classic, reflecting their local tastes and traditions:
- Wisconsin Old Fashioned: A favorite in the American Midwest, this version is made with brandy instead of whiskey. It’s often muddled with fruits like oranges and cherries and sometimes topped with soda, making it a sweeter, fruitier drink. Garnishes can range from pickled mushrooms to Brussels sprouts, reflecting the state’s German heritage.
- New Orleans Old Fashioned: A nod to the city’s rich cocktail history, this version uses rye whiskey and includes a splash of herbsaint or absinthe, giving it an aniseed twist. It’s a reflection of the city’s love for bold and aromatic flavors.
Contemporary Twists by Renowned Mixologists
Many renowned mixologists have added their own flair:
- Coffee Old Fashioned: Perfect for coffee lovers, this twist incorporates cold brew coffee and coffee liqueur. The bitterness of the coffee balances the sweetness of the sugar, creating a multi-layered flavor profile.
- Tropical Old Fashioned: Inspired by tropical flavors, this version might include ingredients like coconut water, passion fruit syrup, or even a dash of rum. It’s like a vacation in a glass!
Best Foods to Complement Your Old Fashioned
The robust flavors of the Old Fashioned pair well with:
- Cheese Boards: The saltiness and variety of cheeses complement the drink’s sweetness.
- Grilled Meats: Think steak or BBQ ribs, where the charred flavors resonate with the drink’s smokiness.
- Chocolate Desserts: Dark chocolate, in particular, pairs beautifully with the bourbon’s rich notes.
Glassware, Garnishes, and Presentation Tips
Presentation is key:
- Glassware: Always use a short, sturdy glass, commonly known as an Old Fashioned or rocks glass.
- Garnishes: While the traditional garnish is an orange slice and cherry, feel free to get creative. Consider using a burnt orange twist or artisanal cherries.
- Ice: A single, large ice cube or sphere is preferred as it melts slower, preventing the drink from becoming too diluted.
Tips and Tricks: Expert Advice for the Aspiring Bartender
- Quality Over Quantity: Always use high-quality spirits and fresh ingredients.
- Balance is Key: Ensure your drink isn’t too sweet or too bitter. Taste as you go.
- Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients or techniques. The best cocktails often come from experimentation!