Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Old Fashioned

Everyone should know how to make an Old Fashioned. It's easy, it's classic, and it's a crowd pleaser because it can be tailored to a variety of tastes. There's no one perfect recipe. If I'm serving a friend who doesn't usually drink spirit-forward cocktails, I'll muddle up the orange and cherries and add some extra simple syrup. If I have a guest who is a big whiskey drinker, I'll go easier on the sweetness. And if someone doesn't like their cocktails too strong, I'll even add some club soda (while silently judging them).

The Old Fashioned is traditionally made with rye, though you can substitute bourbon or whiskey. I recommend Old Overholt--it's really cheap ($18) but lots of people swear by it for the price. I've heard a good upgrade is Rittenhouse Rye ($24). With the money you save, go out and buy a jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries. You'll never touch the bright neon red ones again.

History: The Old Fashioned is the original "cocktail." The first known definition of this term appeared in an 1806 issue of a New York newspaper called The Balance and Columbian Repository as "a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters." As cocktail recipes became more elaborate, this original cocktail was referred to as an "old fashioned." It gained significant popularity in the 2000's as Don Draper's signature drink on Mad Men.

The recipe below is the one I've settled on to suit my taste; play around with it and find your own.

Old Fashioned

2.5 oz. rye
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 tsp. simple syrup
1/2 tsp. cherry juice from the jar
1 orange slice
3 Luxardo maraschino cherries

Add the orange slice, simple syrup, and cherry juice to an old fashioned glass and muddle just a little. Top with the rye and bitters. Add ice and stir. Garnish with the cherries.

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