Legend has it that in the late 1800s whiskey lovers began getting more adventurous with their whiskey cocktails, adding all sorts of sweet fruits and other mix-ins to their whiskey drinks. Other legends state that during prohibition the quality of bootlegged whiskey wasn’t as palatable as it had once been, so it was less an adventure and more a necessity for embellishments to soften the harshness of the outlawed, unaged, hastily-distilled spirits. At some point, according to said legends, drinkers decided enough was enough and wanted to get back to basics, and thus turned their interest back to the simpler “old-fashioned whiskey cocktail”, consisting today as bourbon or rye muddled or mixed with a little sugar and often orange or cherry or both. Whichever legend you choose to cling to, one thing’s for certain; the name Old Fashioned stuck.
Old Fashioneds are for whiskey lovers, and as such are not supposed to be “sweet” like the ones you’re served at your local steakhouse chain which mask the whiskey, but should only contain enough sweetness to color in the lines and let the whiskey shine as the main player. My brother-in-law Gardner and I experienced a wonderful Old Fashioned on a recent visit to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and we knew that’s how the drink is supposed to taste! So we set our sights on making the perfect Old Fashioned once we got back home. We think we’ve succeeded. The downside is that it’s ruined us from ordering one at your average bar & grill ever again, and we think you’ll feel the same. You may likely find my recipe a bit different and far more specific than the myriad of similar recipes out there, and that’s by careful design!
- 1 Cocktail shaker
- 3 ounces strong whiskey (100+ proof) (we prefer Rare Breed Rye, from Wild Turkey)
- 1/2 ounce turbinado simple syrup (2:1 ratio)
- 4 dashes orange bitters
- 1 Luxardo maraschino cherry
- 1 strip of orange peel (You can use a melon baller or even a regular peeler to strip off a strip from an orange)
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Add single 2" ice ball or 2" ice cube to glass.
- Add 1 Luxardo maraschino cherry to glass.
- Add the whiskies, turbinado simple syrup, and bitters to shaker.
- Add ice, shake until cold (about 5-10 seconds). Notice that shaking the cocktail is different than most recipes which specify stirring instead of shaking.
- Strain the cocktail into glass. Discard the ice from shaker.
- Pinch orange peel, down its full length, over the drink to express the oils into the drink.
- Twist or coil orange peel around finger and place into glass submerged.
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