The old-fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail that has stood the test of time. Consisting of just a few key ingredients, it’s one of the easiest yet most delicious cocktails to make at home.
Choosing the Whiskey
The most important ingredient in an old-fashioned is the whiskey itself. Traditionally an old fashioned is made with bourbon, a style of American whiskey made primarily from corn. However, you can also use rye whiskey or even Scotch. The key is to avoid lighter blended whiskeys and instead opt for a high-quality, aged spirit that can stand up to other strong flavors.
Building in the Glass
An old fashioned is constructed directly in the glass it’s served in, usually a rocks or lowball glass. Start by placing a sugar cube in the glass and soaking it with 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters, a concentrated herbal liquor that adds complexity. Use a cocktail spoon or bar spoon to muddle and gently crush the sugar cube while coating it with the bitters.
Adding the Whiskey
Next, add your preferred whiskey. Typically 2 ounces is used for a standard cocktail, but feel free to adjust to taste. The sugar and bitters help balance and enhance the flavors of the whiskey rather than covering them up. Add a large ice cube or sphere to the glass to chill the cocktail without overdiluting it.
Finish your old-fashioned by gently stirring everything together to blend and properly chill. Express the oils of a piece of citrus peel over the top before dropping it in; lemon and orange are classic choices. Finally, garnish with a cocktail cherry.
Tips for the Best Old Fashioned
– Use a high-proof bourbon or rye whiskey so the cocktail doesn’t get overly diluted. Look for bottled-in-bond varieties.
– Make your own simple syrup rather than using plain sugar for easier mixing.
– Try different bitters like orange or chocolate to put a unique spin on the cocktail.
What kind of glass do you serve an old fashioned in?
An old fashioned is traditionally served in a rocks or lowball glass filled with ice cubes or a large ice sphere. This allows you to stir and chill the cocktail properly.
What’s the difference between an old-fashioned and a Manhattan?
While they’re similar whiskey cocktails, an old-fashioned one is made with whiskey, sugar, and bitters. A Manhattan also includes sweet vermouth as a key ingredient.
Do you put ice in an old-fashioned?
Yes, an old-fashioned is built and served over ice. Large cubes are preferred as they chill the cocktail without excess dilution. Simply stirring over ice helps properly blend and chill an old-fashioned.
In conclusion, the beauty of the old-fashioned lies in its simplicity. By learning how to select the right whiskey and balance sweet and strong flavors, you can easily master this enduring classic.