Making an old fashioned

I won’t lie to you.  I’ve been looking forward to writing this post.  The old fashioned is without a doubt my favorite cocktail.  I started drinking them when I was younger and lived in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin the old fashioned is a much different cocktail than what is shown pictured above.  For one there’s typically soda of some sort in it (7up or squirt) and it’s sometimes made with brandy (weird right?).  Additionally, there’s fruit in it that often gets muddled in the bottom of the glass.  Years later (Im not sure when or where it was) I had a ‘proper’ old fashioned and it forever changed the way I viewed this classic cocktail.

The beauty of the old fashioned is in it’s simplicity.  There are only 4 ingredients not including the ice.  The construction of the cocktail is also incredibly simple.  To get started you need the following things…

  • Bourbon or rye whiskey – Im using rye this time around.  Many people might frown at this and say bourbon is a requirement.  I’d suggest you try it with both bourbon and rye.  I find there is a subtle bot noticeable difference in the final taste.
  • Simple Syrup – 1 part sugar and 1 part water.  I make it 1 cup of sugar and water at a time
  • Angostura bitters – Readily available and the goto bitters for most cocktails.
  • An orange – Well, really just a bit of the peel.

A couple of notes before we get started.  This is another drink that people are passionate about.  Everyone knows ‘the right way’ to make one and very few people agree.  For instance, some might frown at the use of simple syrup.  Some people prefer a sugar cube muddled with water to make a sort of simple syrup on demand.  While that’s certainly acceptable, I prefer simple syrup because you don’t have to worry about mixing the sugar in while you make the drink.  Lastly, and likely most importantly, the fruit.  The only fruit I like in my old fashioned is a twist of orange (we’ll talk more about that below).  Others prefer different fruit.  Some people will even put fruit in the glass and muddle it when they’re making the drink.

So the first thing we need to do is put simple syrup in the glass.  Somewhere between a half an ounce and an ounce.  Next, put 3 dashes of bitters in the glass.  You’ll end up with bitters flavored simple syrup.  Something like this…

Next we add ice.  This drink calls for (demands) a big block of ice.  Here I’ll use an ice ball…

Next – we’ll put a twist of orange in the glass.  A twist is accomplished by shaving a pice of peel off of the fruit and then gently squeezing it into the glass to get the oils from the peel to come out in the drink.  The piece you use should be just the peel.  A piece like this will do nicely…

I then fold the peel over and squeeze it together over the glass.  You’re not as much trying to get liquid out of the peel as you are trying to express the oils onto the peel.  Once you squeeze the peel, drop it into the glass.  To finish things off pour about two ounces of rye into the glass.  Give the glass a quick spin to mix things and you’re all done.

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