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Oct 28, 2010 09:54 AM

Old Fashioned?

what exactly is an Old Fashioned? I see posts that show it with Bourbon...then other sites how it with Scotch.
what is the proper spirit to use when making an old fashioned (i assume basic old fashioned is suger, bitters, orange peel, ice, little water and the spirit)?
are there particular spirits that are better for Old Fashioned. I mean, i doubt Johnny Walker Green would work...i've had it with Johnny Black and it was good.
but bourbon?

any thoughts and suggestions on the best way to prepare an Old Fashioned?

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  1. Traditionally it was made with rye, then bourbon, but now can be made with anything. I had a fabulous Bols Genever Old fashioned last week. just change the base spirit, and use less sugar if you use a sweeter spirit like a good aged rum.

    The oldest recipe for an Old Fashioned, circa 1800-1810 is
    2 oz bourbon or rye
    3 dashes of Angostura bitters
    1 tsp fine sugar
    lemon peel
    splash of water or soda
    Muddle sugar, wwater, and bitters in an OF glass, add whiskey and ice, stir. garnish with lemon twist

    A Muddled Old Fashioned recipe circa 1910-1920
    same as above plus one orange slice and one cherry. Muddle fruit with sugar, water, and bitters. Remove orange rind, add bourbon, ice, and soda water to taste. garnish with a chery and orange slice.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      Loved a good Old Fashioned and your recipe is what I use. I generally use bourbon only because that is what I have on hand. I also have orange bitters in my house so I use that with lemon peel to great effect. Now, if I can only remember to have lemons in my house.

      1. re: JMF

        There are those of us that believe that adding soda water (or anything other that water that comes from stirring the ice) is blasphemy.

        1. re: Discokill

          You've got to dissolve that sugar somehow.

          1. re: cacio e pepe

            Bourbon, ice and a good stir will do the job.

            1. re: Discokill

              Not really. At least, I've never had success like that. Sugar has relatively low solubility in a spirit as strong as bourbon and cooling it down isn't going to help matters. Historical recipes always include just a splash of water for just that reason. To each his own though.

        2. re: JMF

          I like lemon for rye and orange for bourbon. And I like to press the peel into the the bottom of the glass after the sugar has dissolved in the bitters and water. Otherwise, that first recipe JMF gives is what I like to do.

          And I'll also second the trying some of the maltier gins with this technique. I found I prefer Peychauds and lemon when doing it that way.

        3. Read on. For 9 (nine) (NINE!) pages:

          I think the upshot of that thread is that an "Old Fashioned" can be different things to different people, depending upon your perspective. It can be:

          - The original historic cock-tail, extremely narrowly defined, probably as whiskey, sugar, water, bitters, and ice. Nothing else. Muddle the sugar in the bitters and a bit of water. Add whiskey and ice.
          - The original historic cock-tail, with tiny modifications, such a simple syrup instead of sugar.
          - A historic cocktail allowing a dash certain liqueurs, such as curacao or absinthe.
          - A historic class of cocktails, involving a spirit (not necessarily whiskey or brandy), sugar, water, bitters, and ice. The Oaxaca Old Fashioned (with Mezcal and Tequila being an example).
          - A cocktail from a different era. Say mid 20th century, with muddled orange, maybe lemon, garnished with an orange and cherry, maybe with a splash of soda.
          - Regional variations of the above.
          - A modern class of cocktails, allowing liberal substitution -- say an amaro for the bitters.

          The positions in the thread are pretty strongly held.

          1. I have a great recipe that's been a big hit with my friends.

            2oz Rye (Old Overholt is a great option)
            1 dashes of Orange Bitters
            Teaspoon of Maraschino Cherry juice

            Add ice, mix, strain. Garnish with orange peel.