To help us kick off cocktail week, we wanted to start with some classics. Including what is considered one of the ultimate cocktail mainstays of all-time. The Old Fashioned. It’s a cocktail that we’ve loved ever since we started imbibing, and remains our go-to.
The Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for well over a century. It is made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus. The Old Fashioned has been around since the late 1800s and is one of the oldest cocktails still in use today.
The origin of the Old Fashioned is somewhat unclear, but it is generally believed to have been created in the late 1800s in the United States. The cocktail is said to have been first made in Louisville, Kentucky, where it was originally called the “Whiskey Cocktail.” At the time, the cocktail was made with sugar, bitters, water, and whiskey.
“The ‘Whiskey Cocktail’ was an American drink for American drinkers, and was even provided as official provisions to Union soldiers during the Civil War.”
Over time, the cocktail evolved and became more popular. Bartenders began to add different ingredients to the recipe, such as citrus and soda water, to create a more complex flavor. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Old Fashioned became a popular drink among Hollywood celebrities, who would order it at the swanky bars and nightclubs of the time.
Despite its long history, the Old Fashioned fell out of favor in the 1960s and 1970s as more complex cocktails became popular. However, it experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 2000s, when bartenders began to focus on creating classic cocktails with a modern twist.
One reason for the Old Fashioned’s enduring popularity is its simplicity. Unlike many modern cocktails, which can be complicated and difficult to make, the Old Fashioned requires only a few ingredients and is easy to prepare. Additionally, its classic flavor profile appeals to a wide range of people, from whiskey connoisseurs to casual drinkers.
Another reason for the Old Fashioned’s popularity is its sheer versatility. The cocktail can be made with a variety of different whiskeys, such as bourbon, rye, or even scotch, allowing bartenders to customize the drink to suit their customers’ tastes. It can also be adapted to suit different seasons and occasions, with ingredients like maple syrup, apple cider, and a range of new and exciting bitters.
All in all, Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail with a rich history and enduring popularity. Its simplicity and versatility make it a favorite among bartenders and drinkers alike, and its timeless flavor profile ensures that it will remain a staple of cocktail menus for many years to come. Is it a drink you’ve enjoyed for years, or just recently started exploring?
Now, for the recipe.
Our favorite minor twist on the Old Fashioned is to swap the sugar cube out for maple syrup, which brings a bit of extra smokiness and smoothness to the drink.
Maple Old Fashioned
- 2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
- 1 tsp Maple Syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Orange peel
- Maraschino (or the much better Amarena) cherry optional
- In an Old Fashioned glass, combine the maple syrup and bitters.
- Add a large ice cube to the glass.
- Pour in the whiskey and stir until well combined.
- Express the oils from the orange peel over the drink and drop it into the glass.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: You can also experiment with different types of bitters or garnishes to create your own unique variation of the classic Old Fashioned.
I like mine the old way, no cherries, no orange slice, just 2 oz of bourbon, half teaspoon of sugar, half an ounce of filtered water, and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters, with a large ice cube. To each his/her own.
It’s all human, though the formality has been toned back, thanks for the comment!
It’s all human, my friend. No robot overlords here!
J.M. Exactly what I thought! The “In conclusion” was a dead giveway
Totally, that syrup is addictive. So good.
My friend, Ed, makes it with the Luxardo cherries and then adds a little of the syrup from the cherries as the sweetener. Hands down the best Old Fashioned I’ve had, including from expensive bars, so I’ve called it the Ed Fashioned.
Good to know! You find the agave cleaner tasting?
I have seen maple syrup used in the Old Fashioned recipe before. I’ve tried it and don’t care for it. After I tried the Oaxacan Old Fashioned, I started to use agave nectar which is far and away better, in my opinion. I don’t even use simple syrup anymore. It’s just bourbon, agave nectar, bitters, and orange peel. And it’s perfect!
Ha, that’s pretty smart. It seems too simple to screw up, but we’ve been there too. If a bar doesn’t have bitters, we usually don’t stick around…
I’m appalled as to how many bartenders screw this drink up! As they shake my cocktails It’s my drink of choice and I started asking when bellying up to a bar.. “How are your old fashioned skills”. If they pause.. I order a beer…
Agreed, we love an Amarena cherry in ours…
Luxardo cherry optional, or Woodford cherries.
This reads like it was written by ChatGPT…Was it?
Please – always include a Maraschino Cherry in a classic old fashioned!!