How To Make An Old Fashioned
An Old Fashioned recipe is made by muddling a bitters soaked sugar cube before combining the other ingredients.
Give everything a gentle stir and serve.
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.
How Can I Be Sure To Fully Dissolve My Sugar
If youre not using simple syrup, it is very important to fully dissolve your sugar, as a failure to do so will result in a lump of unincorporated sugar at the bottom of your glass and a very strong drink.
Using a pair of sugar tongs, drop your sugar cube at the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass with your bitters.
Now, add a little bit of water and muddle with a cocktail muddler until your sugar is completely dissolved, which can take up to five minutes.
The real secret to fully dissolving your sugar? Patience!
What State Is The Old Fashioned A Signature Drink
In 2015, the city of Louisville in Kentucky declared the Old Fashioned its official drink which makes sense since the Old Fashioned was created in this very state. Wisconsin has their own version of Old Fashioned wherein they use brandy instead of whiskey and it is their official drink. Other states that consider the Old Fashioned their most famous drink include Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington DC.
S For The Perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail
The Old Fashioned cocktail is as iconic as it is delicious. Deceptively simple, an Old Fashioned is made up of only whiskey, sugar and bitters about as stripped down as a cocktail can be. But as with many areas of life, simple does not necessarily mean easy . With only 3 ingredients to work with, making a great Old Fashioned depends on really understanding each ingredients purpose and using it correctly. Since we take our Old Fashioneds pretty seriously here at Cocktail Crate, we thought wed share the tips we keep in mind every time we mix one up as well as our go-to recipes.
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The Standard In After
The Old Fashioned is no stranger to spirited debate. Whether its deliberating the type of whiskey, sugar, or garnish, enthusiasts tend to draw a line and stand their ground. Some may prescribe muddling fruit, while the thought alone makes purists red in the face. And dont even get started on what kind of fruit to use. How you make it says a lot about you. But truth be told, theres no wrong way to enjoy the drink. As long as it is, in fact, enjoyed.
Here, in short, is how we make it: a sugar cube, no muddled fruit and garnished with an orange peel. Were open to debate, but certainly prefer to do so over a drink. More detail below.
To start, youll need some good bourbon, an orange, a sugar cube, your homemade Aromatic Bitters and a splash of water.
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass and soak with 4-6 dashes of Aromatic Bitters. Add a splash of water and muddle the sugar until it dissolves fully in the water and bitters. Only add enough water to dissolve the sugar.
Next, add ice. Either a few cubes or one large cube. And add 2 oz. bourbon.
The spirit selection is key, as it can vastly change the dynamic of the drink. Straight Kentucky bourbon is what were using, but you can also use rye or other types of whiskey if you so choose.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove a broad piece of orange peel. Bend, or squeeze, the peel over the drink as depicted above. This will express oils of the orange peel to the surface of the drink.
Pratt Standard True Rich Simple Syrup
Though a sugar cube is the traditional sweetener in an Old Fashioned, we cant deny the convenience of simple syrup.
While sugar requires minutes of muddling, the simple syrup will incorporate instantly into the cocktail.
This Pratt Standard True Rich simple syrup is made from demerara sugar, offering the depth and complexity of brown sugar without all the hard work.
Its molasses-like texture will blend well into your drink, creating a unique result.
This simple syrup is extremely rich, so youll only have to use about half of the amount of simple syrup that you would normally use, meaning that one 16-ounce bottle provides enough for up to 50 cocktails.
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What Are The Best Bitters For An Old Fashioned
This one was tough. As a reminder, we tried to use ingredients that were broadly available.
There are certainly some amazing craft bitters that are available, and we encourage you to try them if you find one of interest.
For this cocktail, we tried:
- Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters
- Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
We did try some local craft bitters and they were fun, but our best results were using a combination of the above.
Our favorite blend was 3 dashes Angostura and 3 dashes orange bitters. The Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters would work but ended up being a bit sweet when using our recommended simple syrup recipe.
Whats The Best Sugar In An Old Fashioned
The first question we tried to answer was what kind of sugar tastes best in an Old Fashioned. The second question was if simple syrup or a sugar cube is superior. Therefore, we tested the following sugars in our cocktail:
- Turbinado Simple Syrup
- Maple Syrup
Simple Syrup versus Sugar Cube:
It ended up being very difficult to get any of the sugar cubes to fully dissolve. We tried muddling them, adding them into some of the bourbon, and anything else we could think of. The best trick we had and one that can work in a pinch is to dissolve the sugar cube in hot water first. Its sort of like a quick-and-easy simple syrup. It isnt perfect, but it works if thats all you have or you dont want to make simple syrup.
Simple syrup is superior. It makes mixing and getting the appropriate amount of sweetness much easier.
In our testing, turbinado simple syrup made the best Old Fashioned. We tested turbinado sugar, organic cane sugar, and regular cane sugar simple syrup side by side in otherwise identical cocktails. Although any would work, the turbinado made a more complex Old Fashioned and ended up being the clear winner.
The organic cane sugar was a good alternative, but the regular cane sugar ended up lacking depth of flavor and would be our last choice.
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Do: Be Tactful With Bitters
An Old Fashioned calls for two to three dashes of bittersno more, no lessthat are added to the glass once the sugar or simple syrup is in. While the amount seems small, having too many or too few dashes can dramatically change the taste makeup of the drink. The type and quality of bitters matters too. Angostura bitters are always a safe and excellent choice, but orange bitters also work well.
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Is Dichloroacetic Acid Harmful
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La Perruche White Sugar Cubes
La Perruche also makes white sugar cubes, which will offer a distinct flavor from brown sugar cubes.
White sugar cubes lack the caramel and molasses notes that brown sugar usually adds to a cocktail.
Though they both come from cane sugar, brown sugar is unrefined, while white sugar is processed to remove the molasses, which in turn eliminates the brown coloring.
If youre someone that prefers a sweeter drink, white sugar cubes are a good option for you.
Although not our first choice for an Old Fashioned, these white sugar cubes are perfect for a Caipirinha.
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Differences Between Rye And Bourbon
Rye grain is known for imparting what many call a spicy or fruity flavor to the whiskey. , distilled from at least 51% corn, is noticeably sweeter and tends to be more full-bodied than rye. As bourbon gained popularity beyond the southern United States, bartenders increasingly substituted it for rye in cocktails such as the , , and , which were originally made with rye. All other things being equal, the character of the cocktail will be drier with rye.
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Flavours And Colouring From Additives
Depending on the local regulations, additional flavourings and colouring compounds may be added to the whisky. may contain caramel and flavouring in addition to the distilled mash spirits. Scotch whisky may contain added , but no other additives. The addition of flavourings is not allowed in “straight” whiskey, but is allowed in American blends.
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.
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Why Is It Called An Old
Modern drinkers can relate to the story of the old-fashioned. This cocktail sparked the same type of “old versus new” debates in the late 19th-century bar that modern “martini” menus produce today. In truth, the old-fashioned was considered “old-fashioned” over a hundred years ago.
Around the 1880s, the American cocktail scene really started to boom. Bartenders were creating new drinks with curaçao, absinthe, syrups, and fruit juices, and they were a hit. There were, of course, the holdouts, those nostalgic drinkers who wanted a simple drink with a kick like they got in the “old days.” To them, all of the fancy stuff was a waste of time. After countless newspaper editorials and bar debates, the old-fashioned got its official name. It was first published under the name in Theodore Proulx’s 1888 “The Bartenders Manual.”
Best Rye Old Fashioned Recipes
This is for the whiskey lover who wants a cocktail but expects to taste the whiskey. Theres no better choice than a rye Old-Fashioned. An Old-Fashioned is the godfather of whiskey cocktails. It is whiskey forward, potent, yet uncomplicated:
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- Orange and/or lemon peel garnish
- One very large ice cube
This simple recipe has stood the test of time. Truly. Rye was the traditional type of whiskey around the 19th century when the Old-Fashioned made its debut. While the recipe has seen numerous variations , the staples remain consistent keeping this particular cocktail at the head of the pack.
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Do You Put A Sugar Cube In An Old Fashioned
One big area where youll see debate is over the sugar cube vs simple syrup. Traditionally speaking many of the recipes for an old fashioned that you come across will call for a sugar cube, that you muddle with the bitters. If you want to create a delicious and presentable old fashioned do not do this.
Is It Better To Use Granulated Sugar Or Sugar Cubes
Surface area is what causes granulated sugar to dissolve faster than sugar cubes. Sugar cubes are tightly packed granulated sugar, which means that they have less surface area exposed to solvent. The surface area of granulated sugar is significantly higher than that of pure sugar, which allows it to dissolve more quickly.
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Follow The Historical Advice On Ice
Within Wondrich’s old-fashioned notes is a fascinating section about the proper ice to use in this drink. It turns out that ice balls and 2-inch cubes are nothing new they just got lost in the American bar until a relatively recent revival. The large cube’s reference dates to 1899, when “…mixologically ambitious saloons preferred to refrigerate their old-fashioned with ice cut into ‘perfect cubes about two inches on a side.'”
It follows the same theory used to chill and slightly dilute straight whiskey. Those fancy ice machines that are so convenient today and produce tiny, fast-melting “cubes” ruined it for many years. If you are an old-fashioned devotee and have not made the switch to 2-inch ice, it’s the last step in perfecting this drink.
Use Rich Simple Syrup
The sugar cube is one Old Fashioned tradition that can definitely be skipped. While many recipes call for it, it offers no advantage over using a rich simple syrup and has several disadvantages. Most obviously, you have to find and buy sugar cubes and a muddler. Not always easy depending where you live, and ordering online cant be done in a pinch. Even once you have obtained sugar cubes, you then have to attempt to dissolve the sugar in bitters and water. In our experience all the work has little payout- you just end up with sugar floating in your drink.
Why not use regular simple syrup in your Old Fashioned cocktail? You totally can however, since rich syrup has a higher ratio of sugar to water, it allows you to add the required sweetness without diluting the drink as much as regular simple syrup would.
A rich simple syrup is easy to make just combine 2 parts sugar and 1 part water in a pan. For home use, 1 cup sugar and a ½ cup water makes plenty of syrup. Set the heat to low and stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved, being sure to not let the syrup boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat off and let the sugar cool completely before using.
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What’s The Best Way To Add An Orange To An Old Fashioned
This shouldn’t be a huge issue, right? Just get a little orange in there. Wrong.
We found numerous restaurants and recipes calling for different ways to add the orange into the cocktail. This included:
- Muddle in an orange slice
- Squeeze an orange slice over the drink
- Spritz an orange peel over the drink
- Some combination of the above
An orange peel spritzed over the drink was the perfect balance. Although muddling in an orange slice is a fun infusion, it too easily overpowered the drink and ruined the overall flavor.
Spritzing an orange peel gave the right citrus zest but didn’t ruin the otherwise deep flavors of the drink.
What Makes It Old
Back in the early 1800s, the very first known recipe for a cocktail was essentially a spirit with sugar, bitters and water. As the general concept of the cocktail gained popularity, modifications were created by adding different liqueurs. This was considered fancy and an indication of wealth as not everyone could afford the expensive elaborations.
This led many traditional cocktail drinkers to request the old-fashioned whiskey cocktail. The name has stuck ever since.
Ice For An Old Fashioned
Ice serves a basic purpose a way to make a cold drink. But it also has the ability to elevate a drink to bar-style quality. You have a few options with your ice, but we have a preferred one for an Old Fashioned. Here’s what we tested:
- Use your standard ice cube to make the drink/fill the glass
- Use small square cubes
- Use large square cubes
- Our favorite: Use clear square cubes
A quick note on clear ice cubes. They melt slower and keep your drink cooler. Making clear ice cubes isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some of it comes down to the purity of the water, but the real trick to making clear ice at home is slowly chilling the water.
We tested multiple makers to do this at home and by far our favorite was the True Cubes ice mold.
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