Old Fashioned – The Perfect Cocktail

At some point in the past year or so, I’ve gotten more into different types of cocktails. Normally the most adventurous drink I’d ever consider, aside from beer, would be simple liquors like rum or vodka mixed with a single mixer, like coke or soda water. While I’ve been to cool bars that makes much more interesting drinks, and have enjoyed them, I never really branched out much beyond the classics at home. My home bar pretty much consisted of things I like to have around when people come over — your standard white/red wine, rum (Gosling of course), vodka, gin and whiskey. The only real mixers I had around were coke, ginger beer and soda water.  I decided it was time to stock my home bar with a few more things in order to make my new favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned.

After my extensive research of wikipedia, I learned that the cocktail has been around since the early 1800’s, though the actual name goes back to the 1880’s and later at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. The drink seemed to pick up steam, along with a variety of other drinks like the Manhattan, among others. The Old Fashioned had the four ingredients that were considered the perfect drink – aged spirits, bitters, sugar and water. Of course the right balance was essential.

In a few days (or weeks, since the book is on backorder) I’ll be reviewing the recently released book The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy, authored by cocktail master at PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a fabulous speakeasy in Manhattan. I wanted to learn more drinks to try making as well as learn the secrets of a great home bar. Until then, I’ll just provide a delicious (and easy) recipe for the perfect Old Fashioned. I did quite a bit of research on what the right mixture should be, and came across one through Serious Eats, on the blog Cask Strength. The drink is not overly sweet or bitter and doesn’t add tons of fruit for the sake of adding fruit. I hope you enjoy (responsibly)!

The Perfect Old Fashioned – Recipe from Cask Strength

2 oz Any aged spirit (I enjoy Makers Mark)
.5 oz Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (others are ok too)
Orange zest, and a maraschino cherry (preferably something fancy and not metallic)
Stir the above in mixing glass with ice and pour over fresh ice

Ahead of time, Chill a cocktail glass.

Fill a mixing glass top the top with ice. Allow the mixing glass to get cold, but pour out any possible water that was created.

Measure the spirits and simple syrup and add to mixing glass. Add 2 dashes of bitters. Stir well, don’t shake.

In your cold cocktail glass, add several cubes of ice, or a single giant cube (Tovolo KING Cube Ice Trays, Blue). Strain above mixture into glass over ice. Using a grater or zester, zest a sprinkling of orange peel over the drink. Add a cherry on a toothpick and enjoy!

Simple Syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

In a small saucepan add water and sugar. Stir as you bring to a low boil. Turn off heat when sugar is dissolved and let cool.

This can be made ahead of time and stored in a squeeze bottle for easy use. Once made, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

About Evan Halperin

I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to eat what I cook. Now, I will share with you what I like to cook. My wife and I may be a vegetarian and a carnivore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t cook a nice meal with both, without compromising taste. I will share my creative meals of the Carnivore and the Vegetarian.
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4 Responses to Old Fashioned – The Perfect Cocktail

  1. JJ says:

    Evan-I’ve been drinking these as well of late. What are your thoughts on bourbon versus rye and which is more “traditional?”

  2. Well, according to the “traditional” things I read, you can really use any “aged spirit.” So in theory you could use aged Rum or Gin. I have been using Makers Mark at home and I’ve had them with Rye too. I think it can go either way. Next im going to buy bulleit bourbon or rye and try that.

  3. JJ says:

    Interesting. I can’t imagine it without some kind of whiskey. I also use regular sugar (instead of simple syrup) and a I muddle it with the citrus rind.

  4. Yea, i think it has to be whiskey or bourbon. I want to try it with the sugar cube and using the muddler. I’d like to branch out and try a few different versions. Next up, the Manhattan (not in a martini glass).

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