The Pendennis Club Myth
For decades, the creation of the old-fashioned was attributed to the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. David Wondrich points out in his book “Imbibe!” that this is false: The club opened in 1881, but a year before that, “old-fashioned cocktails” were mentioned in the Chicago Tribune. There was even an “ambiguous newspaper squib” that mentioned old-fashioned drinks as early as 1869.
In truth, the old-fashioned formula dates back to the 1850s, if not earlier. It was made with whiskey, brandy, or gin . It was quite simply liquor, sugar , and ice. Add bitters, and you have the original definition of a cocktail.
From Bartenders Guide Published 1:
- 1/2 cube sugar
- 1 squirt seltzer
- 1 1/2 oz rye or bourbon
Muddle sugar and bitters add ice and whisky stir and decorate with cherry and slice of orange on a toothpick.
- 2 oz bourbon or rye
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 sugar cube
- Orange twist
Add the sugar cube to a rocks glass. Drop two dashes of bitters and a bar spoon of water onto the sugar cube. Muddle the bitters and water into the sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the rye or bourbon, stir. Add a large chunk of ice or two and stir until chilled. Twist a large piece of orange zest over the drink and drop into the glass.
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How To Make An Old Fashioned Cocktail
How to Make an Old Fashioned
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Dont: Muddle Your Cherries
If you prefer your Old Fashioned with a cherry, just make sure not to muddle it in the glass. This is not a drink that needs a bold punch of cherry flavor or fruit floating around. Instead, add it later as a garnish, and make sure to opt for a brand such as Luxardo over the neon maraschino cherry, which is full of chemicals and dye.
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Roland Demerara Sugar Cubes
Another raw, unprocessed sugar cube, these Roland Rough Cut cubes will also add complexity to your Old Fashioned without making it overly sweet.
Demerara just means that the sugar is unprocessed, and these pure cane sugar cubes are rich in flavor without the overwhelming caramel notes.
The brown sugar pairs well with whiskey, and its understated sweetness will offer the perfect balance.
Unlike certain brown sugars, it doesnt have a strong hint of molasses, keeping its flavor simpler.
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What Else Goes Into An Old Fashioned
Aside from whiskey, bitters, and sugar, most versions of an Old Fashioned are made with some sort of fruit, normally an orange peel.
However, a lemon peel can be subsisted, and some drinkers even choose to include a maraschino cherry as a garnish.
A splash of water is especially important if youre using a sugar cube, which will help with dissolving the sugar, and some people even use soda water if you have it on hand .
Just be sure not to overdo it.
An Old Fashioned is served on the rocks, so the melting ice will dilute the drink over time. The bigger the ice cubes, the bettera larger surface area means a slower melting time.
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How To Make An Old
How old is the Old-Fashioned?
This whisky cocktail is one of the most famous around. It was given its name in the 1880s when it was named an IBA Official Cocktail, but its history is a lot earlier than that.
In 1806 when a reader of The Balance and Columbian Repository asked the Editor for a definition of the word cocktail, it was described as spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters all the ingredients of an Old-Fashioned. But at the time he referred to it as a bittered sling.
Why is it called an Old-Fashioned?
The name supposedly came from the way people ordered their drinks at the bar. Its namesake apparently came from people asking for their drink to be made the old-fashioned way, using a brown spirit, sugar, water and bitters.
What whisky is best for an Old-Fashioned?
An Old-Fashioned is traditionally made with rye or bourbon, but some like to use Scotch, too.
What is the difference between a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned?
The main difference between the two cocktails, is the ingredient used to sweeten them. An Old-Fashioned uses simple syrup, a syrup made by cooking equal parts sugar and water together, or a sugar cube, while a Manhattan uses sweet red vermouth.
Do you put a cherry in an Old-Fashioned?
You can do! No one is stopping you add a cherry, and many do. However, we love a good orange peel.
sugar cube, or 1 tsp sugar syrup
Orange peel, to garnish
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The Best Whiskeys to Use for Old Fashioneds
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If You Want To Experiment Try Different Bitters
Angostura bitters is traditionally used in an Old Fashioned.
You can’t go wrong with Angostura bitters, but if you’re making an Old Fashioned in the winter or around the holidays, I recommend using a few dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters instead. You get way more cinnamon and clove on the nose, like a winter holiday in a bottle.
Old Fashioned Recipe With Mixer
2oz Bourbon or Rye1/2oz Classic Old Fashioned mixer
Combine whiskey and mixer in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir 20-30 seconds, strain into a whiskey glass. No garnish needed, but if you have an orange peel handy it wont hurt! Curious if a store near you carries Spiced Old Fashioned check our store locator.
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Dont Forget The Orange Peel
Orange peel is filled with beautifully smelling orange oils that make a great addition to a simple Old Fashioned. As the very last step after the cocktail has been made, use a vegetable peeler to get a 2 inch piece of peel from an orange. Hold the peel above the finished drink with the outside surface facing the drink and pull back the sides of the peel so that the oils are released into the drink. Then wipe the rim of the glass with the peel and place it in the drink skin side up so that the you can smell the remaining oil with each sip. The effect is subtle, but well worth it.
Alternative to steps 2-4 : Use a Quality Craft Mixer
If you follow the steps above you will be an Old Fashioned pro in no time. But what happens when you are out of simple syrup and oranges? When you want a great Old Fashioned but dont have the time to shop for all the ingredients, make a syrup, and then wait for it to cool? When you want to mix up the flavors a little? When you want to serve a group of friends a couple Old Fashioneds each?
These are the questions that inspired us at Cocktail Crate to create our Classic Old Fashioned craft mixer. We took rich demerara brown sugar, fresh orange, and Angostura bitters and combined them into a rich all-in-one syrup. Each batch is a ton of work, and using this quality of ingredients is definitely not the most cost effective way we could do this. For us, its a labor of love, and we think when you taste our Old Fashioned syrup you will agree.
Why Dont You Shake A Martini
For a martini, there is no citrus in the mix, and both the gin and the vermouth intermingle well when you stir. Shaking not only mixes ingredients, it also dilutes and aerates it. A shaken martini gets diluted too fast and gets too much air mixed into it. The result is a slightly frothy and watered down drink.
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Having Fun With The Ice
Since weve gotten into making Old Fashioned cocktails at home, Adam dorked out a little and looked into the how and why of clear, large ice cubes. None of this is required for your cocktail, but since we used two of his ice balls in our photo and considering weve already bonded over our love of the Old Fashioned, I thought Id take a shot at explaining what weve learned.
Im sure youve seen various large ice cube molds like this sphere mold . The problem is that if you just add water and freeze, you will be left with cloudy ice. Worse still, if you use the sphere mold, the water freezes in such a way that when you add the sphere to your drink, it has a very high chance of breaking into pieces.
This all matters because cloudier ice cubes are less dense so they melt much quicker and break apart easier than clearer ice cubes. In other words, the clearer ice cubes are, the less dilution your cocktail will need to endure. And bonus, clear ice looks cooler.
So how do you make clear ice cubes? There are quite a few gadgets you can buy online. We went the more DIY, budget-friendly route. After some research, we found this tutorial for making clear ice balls using an insulated mug.
We use our tap water since we have found it freeze quite clear using this method. The tap water in the last home we had did not produce clear cubes so we found that it was best to use filtered or boiled water.
Here are the steps for doing it :
Making It Your Own Without Ruining It
Theres nothing wrong with making a nouveau version of your favorite classic drink. But the Old Fashioned is pretty perfect in its simplicity, so youre walking a thin line when you start to alter the recipe. Christopher thinks theres nothing wrong with a little experimentation, though, so long as the changes arent too drastic. Playing with the bitters and syrups will allow subtle flavor changes while still remaining true to the Old Fashioned, he says. Approaching fall, I like to make a nice toasted pecan demerara syrup and pair that with chicory pecan bitters.
- Cookie Settings
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The Right Kind Of Ice
While you can totally use regular tray ice in a pinch, those small cubes arent ideal for an Old Fashioned. When it comes to ice, you want the drink to chill and dilute, but not over dilute, Christopher says. Larger cubes are great for this job because you have the surface area to really provide a nice chill without a quick dilution rate. I love the wide range of molds that are available now. For Old Fashioneds, go for a two-inch cube.
Low Calorie Old Fashioned Secret Ingredient
I was able to cut the calories by swapping out the sugar, or simple syrup. With an all natural, zero calorie simple syrup.
First off, I want you to know that I found this amazing, all natural ingredient all on my own. I am approached often to peddle ingredients Thats not the case here.
Im usually wary of zero calorie sweeteners and I want to stress, this should still be enjoyed in moderation. More sweets mean more craving for carbs And often thats where people gain weight.
Try this secret ingredient for my skinny old fashion recipe. You can click on the photo to add to your Amazon cart.
If you want to make this cocktail old fashioned recipe, you can use regular simple syrup! Just add 50 calories to the recipe card below
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Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail
Happy new year !!! Weve officially started 2018! The beginning of a new year always starts off by looking back on what happened the year before. 2017 may have been a year of some serious ups and downs, but I did manage to do something pretty awesome in September. I even got a new stamp in my passport and jetted off to Japan!
All in all, it was a pretty big year. Now, its time to look forward, but not without a quick *cheers* first! Which is why, at the start of get fit January , Im sharing one of my favorite go to happy hour beverages, the Classic Old Fashioned Cocktail.
Turns out, this is the easiest, quickest drink to make ever and its just SO tasty. Im a whiskey person myself, particularly bourbon, so it should come as no surprise that the classic old fashioned is one of my go to drinks of choice. If I had known how easy it is to make, I could have definitely saved a trip to the local watering hole and made them at home! Way easier on the wallet too.
You literally only need 6 things, plus ice. Particularly a large singular ice cube if youre being traditional. We have a mold that forms orbs and I feel like Im in a speak easy in New York in the 1920s whenever we use it. Its fabulous ????.
Literally that easy. If you find it to be too potent , go ahead and add a another splash of club soda. Also, you can add a little more simple syrup, up to 1 ½ teaspoons. I wouldnt add a whole other sugar cube though, way too much sweet to be an old fashioned!
Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
How to make the classic old fashioned drink the right way. Bourbon, bitters, simple syrup , and an orange peel.
This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase a product I recommend.
The Old Fashioned cocktail dates back to the late 1800s. Its said to have been created by bartender, James E. Pepper in Louisville, Kentucky. Its a classic cocktail made with whiskey , Angostura bitters, orange peel, and a muddled sugar cube. Unfortunately, this isnt what youll get at 90% of restaurants and bars if you order one.
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Pro Tips For Making This Recipe
- While some recipes may call for soda water or water added to the sugar cubes, I skip it so as not to dilute the cocktail.
- Avoid adding too many dashes of bitters to the glass as itll overpower the bourbon flavors.
- Dont skip the sugar as the sweetness opens the bourbons aroma.
- When cutting the orange peel, make sure there is as little pith as possible as itll taste bitter.
- To help your drink stay cold longer, you can place your glasses in the freezer beforehand. If you didnt put the glasses in the freezer early enough, you can also fill the glasses with some water and place them in the freezer while preparing to make the drink for a quick chill.
- Feel free to double or triple the recipe, just be sure to use a larger glass to mix your ingredients together.
- Using a large ice cube is ideal as it melts slower and slows the dilution of the drink.
- A Luxardo cherry makes a great garnish for an Old Fashioned. Place it on a toothpick on the glass, or add it to the drink and stir.
The Best Whiskey For An Old Fashioned
The best whiskey for an Old Fashioned is … the whiskey you like! Many reputable mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts have opined on whether you should use rye or bourbon, but honestly, you can use either. Which do you prefer? There that’s your whiskey for an Old Fashioned!
I like this drink with bourbon. I used Buffalo Trace most recently, but other mid-tier bourbons like Maker’s Mark, Bulleit, or Knob Creek would all be excellent choices.
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Variations On The Old Fashioned
And thats it: how to make a perfect Old Fashioned recipe! Once youve made it a few times, you may want to mix it up a bit. Here are Old Fashioned variations we love:
- Try the Wisconsin Old Fashioned, an Old Fashioned made with brandy!
- Opt for the smoky and delicious Oaxaca Old Fashioned with tequila and mezcal
- Go unique with a smoke-infused Smoked Old Fashioned
- Try a Maple Old Fashioned using maple syrup instead of sugar
Keywords: Old Fashioned, Bourbon Old Fashioned
Simple Syrup Vs Sugar Cube
When making an Old Fashioned, many people add a sugar cube to the bottom of a rocks glass and muddle it with bitters before adding whiskey. But simple syrup also gets the job done, and its an ingredient that youre more likely to have in the house. I prefer syrups over sugar cubes, Christopher says. While I love and appreciate an Old Fashioned made with cubes, they tend to not have full dilution. This means the sugar content can increase over time, and youre often left with undissolved sugar at the bottom of your glass. I use a double strength demerara syrup because it limits the amount of dilution.
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