The Old Fashioned is a quintessential cocktail. In my book, it is the ultimate cocktail. In fact, if pressed to choose one cocktail to drink for the rest of my life, it would be an Old Fashioned.
An Old Fashioned is a whiskey cocktail and it is to whiskey what vodka is to the martini. It is simply just sugar, bitters, bourbon, and an orange peel. And though it is a simple cocktail in terms of ingredients, it has many complexities, and can easily be changed (though possibly not improved) by using different bitters, bourbon versus rye whiskey, and orange peel versus lemon peel.
I could go on and on about Old Fashioneds, but let’s get down to business. The following recipe is for a classic Old Fashioned, the way it was originally intended. From here you can go on, but one must walk before they can run, so let’s start walking.
2 1/2 ounces Bourbon Whiskey (I like Buffalo Trace)
1 Sugar Cube
1 Luxardo Cherry (or Maraschino if Luxardo cherries are unavailable)
2 Orange Peel Strips
Old Fashioned Glass
Place the sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and saturate the sugar cube with bitters, aiming only for the sugar cube and continue until the sugar cube looks fully saturated, which should be about 3-6 drops of bitters.
Add about a tablespoon of water to the glass and, using the muddler, muddle the sugar cube and bitters together until the sugar is almost completely dissolved. Fill the glass with ice (or one large single ice cube if you have one), add the bourbon, and stir, using the cocktail spoon. Add the cherry, letting it float to the bottom of the glass. Using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife, peel an orange strip, and holding the skin side down over the top of the glass, squeeze the sides of the peel together, expelling the orange oil into the glass. Place the orange peel strip standing upright in the side of the glass and repeat the process.
Now, your cocktail is complete! If this is your first Old Fashioned, it won’t be your last (I promise). If this isn’t your first Old Fashioned, then you know what I’m talking about. Cheers!