Three ways to Old Fashioned


I am always amazed at how much people love a drink called “Old Fashioned.” Put those words in front of almost anything else and eyes glaze over. But put them in front of “cocktail…”

What is an Old Fashioned? At its heart, it’s a simple cocktail made with whiskey (bourbon if you’re a purist, rye if you’re a rebel), some kind of sugar, some kind of bitters and some kind of water.

That is too vague for me. Let’s get specific with the following three ways to prepare an Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Way One: sophisticated

2 oz bourbon

1 sugar lump

2 dashes bitters

ice and club soda

Take your rocks glass and add your sugar lump (I like a cube of brown sugar because its grainy quality creates some sugar texture to the finished drink). Add your two dashes of bitters (please choose a high quality bitters) right on top of the sugar, with a tiny bit of club soda, so that it starts to disintegrate. As it does, crush the sugar with a muddler or spoon and push the sugar mush around the bottom of the glass to coat it. Next add your ice, then whiskey and then an orange twist if you like.

Way Two: simplicity

2 oz bourbon

1/2 oz demerara syrup

3 dashes bitters

3 dashes orange bitters


No water in this one! And your citrus flavor is coming from orange bitters instead of zest, although you could use both if you want. Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass, stir, then strain into a serving glass. Done.

But what is demerara syrup? It’s simple syrup made with demerara sugar and very easy to make at home. Put 1 cup of demerara sugar in a saucepan, add 1/2 cup filtered water and combine the two, stirring constantly over low heat, until they are completely dissolved together, about 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Way Three: modern

1 orange slice

1 lemon slice

1/4 ripe peach, chopped

1 Tbsp simple syrup

2 oz bourbon

3 dashes bitters


Not quite sure how I feel about this one but it is an update of the classic, regardless! Add the orange and lemon slices, peach and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker, muddle and then add ice. And bourbon and bitters and shake. Strain into serving glass and garnish with a twist if you like.

Three ways to skin this cat, as my mother Pearl would say. Enjoy however you prefer (myself, I like the simple best). But enjoy! It’s later than you think!!


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