A simple drink that perfectly epitomises the original definition of the ‘Cocktail’ – a combination of alcohol, water, sugar and bitters. Your choice of those simple ingredients will have a profound impact on the cocktail’s final character.
This seemingly simple recipe does not diminish how delicious a drink it is, nor how careful you need to be if you want to make it well. We will show you how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail that’s bottle aged with multiple servings.
- 45 Ml AMERICAN WHISKY (1 1/2 parts)
- 7.5 Ml SUGAR (1/4 part)
- 30 Ml WATER (1 part)
- 2 DASH ANGOSTURA BITTERS
- 2 DASH ORANGE BITTERS
How to make it
- 1 – Measure out all ingredients, except for the bitters, into a jug or jar.
- 2 – Stir together to ensure that all sugar is dissolved.
- 3 – Add mixture to a glass bottle or jar and store in fridge.
- 4 – It’s ready to serve immediately, but it will improve with time to rest in the bottle, so try to make it at least a few days ahead of schedule. As there are no fresh ingredients in this recipe, this bottle of Old Fashioned will last indefinitely. Keep it chilled, closed and out of sunlight for best results.
- 5 – When ready to serve, add bitters into a lowball glass and pour in a serving of your nifty bottled Old Fashioned, then fill the glass with ice, ideally a large single block.
- 6 – Garnish with a twist of orange and you’re ready to serve to others…or enjoy yourself!
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Get nerdy with it
AMERICAN WHISKY Traditionally made with Bourbon, however, like other classic Whisk(e)y cocktails the formula will work with almost any Whisky. Even Rum, Cognac or Mezcal make a glorious Old Fashioned variations. Get creative.
SOFT BROWN SUGAR Your choice of sugar here will of course make quite an impact on the final drink. We like the slightly deeper notes of a soft brown sugar, instead of white. As always, this is a great place to start, then feel free to experiment. You can even replace the sugar with honey, agave or maple syrup. Find out more about sugar.
ANGOSTURA BITTERS Leave these deliciously aromatic bitters out of the batch and add directly to the glass when serving. This allows for customisation by the individual drinker, and removes the danger of ruining a whole batch by adding too much. The complexity of Angostura Bitters is key to adding depth of flavor and a hint of bitterness that will extended the length of the drink on the palate.
ORANGE BITTERS Especially when combined with the essential oils from an orange twist, a dash of Orange Bitters helps to elevate and lighten this recipe. Adding fresh top notes to a drink that is otherwise richer and heavier. As above, add when serving and not into the batch.
However, as you start to play with this recipe, you can take the drink in very different directions by replacing these Orange Bitters with all sorts of complimentary Bitters, like chocolate for example.
WATER Dilution is as important as any other ingredient. This is the water that would be added during stirring with ice in the traditional method. The amount of water for this batch has been calculated using a Whisk(e)y at 90 proof / 45% ABV. If you use a stronger Whisk(e)y, your will need to add a little more water to the batch, and vice versa. How do you know when you have the right amount? As always, taste, taste, taste and TRUST YOUR PALATE to guide you.
Why we chose this recipe for you
One of the first classics to lead the renaissance of vintage cocktails. It’s a delightfully simple recipe, and yet, especially outside the US, it was made incredibly painstakingly.
You added sugar to an empty lowball glass with a dash of Bitters and a splash of Whisk(e)y. Then, using the muddler on the bottom of a bar spoon, you began the laborious 8 minutes of stirring. Yes…at least EIGHT MINUTES. 1 ice cube added at a time, allowing it to slowly melt, all the while keeping the spoon whirling around the glass, and dissolving the sugar.
For the first 5 or 6 minutes you only added another ice cube when the one before it had completely melted. Then in the last couple of minutes you would start to add ice more quickly, and so the glass would slowly start to fill with ice.
With ice and drink starting to fill the glass, the process of tasting would begin. Tasting and checking to focus in on the perfect moment when the drink was ready.
When that magical moment was reached, any remaining space in the glass would be filled with more ice to make sure the drink was as cold as possible, before a large twist of orange was added to finish the drink off.
It’s exhausting just writing the process we used to go through, so you can imagine the delight you would feel when you got an order for 5 of them right at the end of service.
To be fair, the process works. The drink becomes icy cold and perfectly diluted. The guest also loved the whole ritual and attention to detail that went into their drink. As a bartender you had to become adept at making other drinks at the same time as making an Old Fashioned. If not, you were in all sorts of trouble!
Times have thankfully moved on and today that particular process seems more than a little insane. We have given you two different ways to get to the required end result that are just as delicious, whilst taking a fraction of the time.
Our favourite method is batching because the drink gets better over time and when you fancy a tipple, all you have to do is crack open the bottle and pour into a glass with ice, add bitters and garnish, then sit back and enjoy.
As always, don’t forget to show us what you made by tagging us!
@Candra_Drinks #MakeBetterDrinks #CandraDrinks