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Old Fashioned: Muddled Fruit or Garnish?

Title says it all. I know there's a million ways to make an old fashioned. Many would say no fruit at all. Which do you prefer?

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  1. No muddling. Cherry garnish.

    1. No muddled fruit. I did do an orange twist last time. I don't do a cherry unless someone asks. I got some of those Luxardo cherries for just such requests. They seem nice enough.

      1. Another vote for no muddling. The tiny bit of juice that would be released by muddling a slice adds nothing but a bit of sweetness, and the pulp makes the drink a mess. An orange twist definitely adds a nice aroma, but even that is nonessential in my opinion.

        I highly recommend reading the following article by Robert Hess: http://www.drinkboy.com/Articles/Arti...

        3 Replies
        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          I'm surprised that Mr. Hess is in the pro-muddling camp, or at least that he advises it lends "interesting and useful flavor notes."

          Personally, I like the flavor you get from the orange peel's oils getting muddled out into the drink. I don't think you get that same effect from an orange twist, since that offers a nice aroma but doesn't really get incorporated into the flavor.

          Then again, I have something of an extreme love of orange peels, so maybe I'm not the best guy to ask.

          1. re: A_Gonzalez

            Actually Robert isn't in the pro-muddling camp. I've had a few old fashioned's with him, and with Doc as well, and they are both purists.

            http://www.drinkboy.com/Cocktails/Rec...

            1. re: JMF

              Ah, but he does advocate squeezing the orange oils into the drink before adding whiskey, as he also does on the Old Fashioned episode of The Cocktail Spirit.

              So whether muddled or not, I get the impression that those "interesting and useful flavor notes" are at work here. So I guess I should phrase it differently: I'm surprised that Mr. Hess, in all the media I've seen him produce, is one of the only folks I've seen use the orange peel/oil as an ingredient in the drink rather than just a garnish to squeeze on top.

        2. Garnish only. Muddling an orange slice into the drink has two problems. First, it introduces the bitter flavors of the pith to the drink, and second, it's ugly as hell.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            I don't mind the pith notes. I do mind the bits of fruit clogging up the small straws they give you.

            I'm definitely a "hold the salad" type of guy with the only fruit I prefer being a lemon and/or orange twist. And no soda water top please!

            http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

          2. No muddling, no fruit, maybe a lemon or orange twist to garnish but prefer no garnish. Just spirit, sugar, ice, bitters.