The Old Fashioned is cited as the oldest cocktail. This claim comes from the early 19th century and defining the word “cocktail” in a manner that describes this very drink. So deeply rooted in cocktail history is the Old Fashioned that the glass it is served in is called an Old Fashioned.
As I’ve been sharpening my palate on single malts, my thirst for cocktails has waned. There are a couple though that will meet my need for complexity and variety at a basic bar. The old fashioned is wonderful in that it brings added character, body and flavor to normally pedestrian whiskeys. When it’s made with a really good bourbon like Bulleit, it’s even better.
Here is my personal recipe for the Bulleit Old Fashioned:
- 7.5 ml (1/4 oz) simple syrup
- 5cl (1.5oz) Bulleit Bourbon
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Mix all ingredients over 3-4 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass. No garnish is required. Zest with orange and rub the rim if you want some extra citrus zap, but you don’t need it.
My version is different from many others because I use homemade simple syrup and no soda. The IBA version starts with sugar cubes and soda water which to me is an unnecessary pain. Many other variations dump cherries, orange slices and the like into the mix. I prefer to keep the mix simple and let the spirits bring the complexity.
Other interesting variations include the use of rye whiskey or Scotch. I’ll have to try an Old Potrero Old Fashioned sometime. Both Old Potrero and Wild Turkey 101 would be good routes to getting messed up in a hurry. Use with caution.