Drinks

Classic Cocktail: Old Fashioned

As its name indicates, this cocktail is old. So old in fact, that it was already dubbed an Old Fashioned by the late 19th century. Similar to the the Sazerac, it follows the traditional definition of the word “cocktail” (Spirit + Bitters + Sugar). It is considered one of the granddaddies of present days cocktails – a classic cocktail –  and personally, I’m glad it has survived the test of time. How could it not? It’s simple, delicious, and it’s Don Draper’s signature drink.

Below you can find the classic recipe. It’s an easy one to make at home so why not try it out tonight? My personal viewpoint on this recipe is to use rye or bourbon as you prefer. Bourbon, as it is largely corn based, is generally a sweeter whiskey with notes of caramel and toffee. Rye is usually spicier with notes of pepper, clove, and nutmeg.

The Classic Old Fashioned

2 oz rye or bourbon
⅓ – ½  oz simple syrup (but no more!)
2 dashes of Angostura
Thick orange zest for garnish

Add ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain over large ice rocks. Twist the zest over the glass to release the oils and place on top as garnish.

oldfashioned-178_wm

This cocktail is traditionally made with a sugar cube, but I almost always go with simple syrup. The versatility of simple syrup will give you more flexibility when you level up your cocktail skills and want to use the old fashioned as a template for a new drink.

I would also recommend to try and steer clear of the value whiskies on this one. The flavours from the whiskey really come through and bad or harsh whiskey could mean a bad Old Fashioned.

You may have seen (or been served) an Old Fashioned with a muddled orange wheel and cherry garnished the same way. This small variation of the drink is called the Fruit Old Fashioned. For this version, a sugar cube is recommended as the crystals will help muddle the fruit.

The “Fruit” Old Fashioned

2 oz rye or bourbon
1 sugar cube
¼ orange wheel
1 Maraschino cherry (optional)
2 dashes Angostura
¼ orange wheel and maraschino cherry for garnish

Add sugar, orange, cherry, and bitters in an empty mixing glass and muddle. Add whiskey and ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain over large ice rocks. Garnish with quarter orange and a skewered Maraschino cherry.

As I mentioned earlier, the Old Fashioned is a great template for other cocktails. We’ve covered one already – The Skinos Old Fashioned, and here are some other excellent examples:

Toronto Cocktail

2 oz rye
¼ oz Fernet Branca
¼ oz simple syrup
2-5 dashes Angostura
Orange twist for garnish

Add ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain over a large ice rock. Twist the zest over the glass to release the oils and place on top as garnish.

The Ancho Old Fashioned – The Spicy Old Fashioned

oldfashioned-189_wm

I recently got my hands on this magical chile liqueur that adds spice and pairs well with almost anything. If you manage to find it, get it. It’s pretty rare in the US and almost unheard of here in Canada. More on this libation soon. This recipe is from the Ancho Chile website and it was a big hit when taste tasted by the other FMMS gents.

1 oz Ancho Reyes (Ancho chile liqueur)
1 oz Tequila reposado
¼  oz rich syrup
3 dashes Angostura
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters

Add ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain over a large ice rock. Twist the zest over the glass to release the oils and place on top to garnish.

I hope that you try making some of these for your guests, and even order them when you’re out and about. I assure you, you’ll feel as cool and sophisticated as Don Draper (just don’t cheat on your wife as much)!

You Might Also Like

  • Classic Cocktail: Manhattan – Five Men Making Sh!t February 1, 2015 at 12:39 am

    […] in New York City in the late 19th century, about 100 years after the earliest known mention of the Old Fashioned. There are a few theories as to the exact circumstances that brought it to pass, but no real […]

  • Mixing Cocktails Part II: How to Stir – Five Men Making Sh!t February 27, 2015 at 11:31 am

    […] of our favourite examples of stirred cocktails include the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, the Godfather, and the […]

  • Singapore Sling – Looking Great for a 100-Year-Old – Five Men Making Sh!t May 29, 2015 at 9:01 am

    […] sugar, and water. They could be served hot or cold, and actually pre-date even the venerable Old Fashioned. The Singapore Sling is actually more of a tiki drink, hence your permission to get wild with the […]

  • Elderflower Old Fashioned – Five Men Making Sh!t October 7, 2015 at 9:04 am

    […] Old Fashioned is the quintessential cocktail and one of my all-time favourites. So when I came across a variation […]

  • Fernet Obsessed: The Hanky Panky – Five Men Making Sh!t March 9, 2016 at 9:02 am

    […] it again, and cursed me for even mentioning it. I probably should have started them off with a Toronto Cocktail or a […]