Recipe – Old Fashioned

An Old Fashioned is the most classic of cocktails. The impetus for its origin is credited to the proliferation of high-proof, higher quality spirits in the young United States. Barkeepers and tenders wanted to make these spirits available behind the bar, but most people wouldn’t order them neat (and ice was still very much an infrequent luxury). To smooth the taste and aroma of the high alcohol content, tenders started adding water and sugar, while bitters provided augmented flavors. As mixology and cocktails increased in number and complexity, those who favored the boozy original started ordering drinks, “the old fashioned way.” Historically a rye whiskey drink, the Old Fashioned is more an outline than a recipe.

The Old Fashioned: Liquor, sugar, water, bitters.

Jordan’s Old Fashioned

(variation on the Harrison Smith House Barrel Proof Old Fashioned)

  • 2 oz. Bonded[1] Bourbon (he prefers Henry McKenna 10 yr. Single Barrel—or turn up the heat with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof)
  • 1 bar spoon turbinado simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Garnish with orange and lemon peel

Method

Add all ingredients (not the garnish) in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir.[2] Strain into rocks glass with fresh ice (he prefers one large cube, but three cubes will do). Squeeze citrus oil from the orange and lemon peel over the top, rub orange around the edge of the glass, and drop in both peels.

Alex’s Old Fashioned

Method

Muddle sugar cube with bitters and a few drops of water. Add whiskey, and stir well. Pour into rocks glass over one large ice-cube. Garnish with cherry.

A Few Notes

[1] Bonded refers to the industry term of Bottled in Bond. This term is only important for you to know because bonded liquor is always 100 proof. If you really want to know more, this will get you started: To be labeled as Bottled-in-Bond or Bonded, the liquor must be the product of one distillation season and one distiller at one distillery. It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume). The bottled product’s label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, if different, where it was bottled. Only spirits produced in the United States may be designated as bonded.

[2] Stirring is more than just mixing the ingredients, you are also chilling the alcohol in the ice, while providing energy to melt some of the ice into the drink. You should be stirring at somewhere about 40 rotations around the mixing glass.

Let Us Know What You’re Drinking

There are many variations of Old Fashioned, these are two of our favorites, but one Jordan is currently tinkering with is equal parts Mezcal and rye whiskey. Keep exploring your options and let us know how you drink yours with a picture and #tobeingabetterdrinker @speakingeasypodcast on Instagram.