The perfect Old Fashioned can be an elusive thing to find in your local corner bar, and even in some of the most upscale establishments in the country. It’s not as simple as pouring some bourbon and sugar in a glass with an orange slice. But people often treat it that way. So, how DO you craft the perfect Old Fashioned?
First and foremost, to craft the perfect Old Fashioned, you must start with the highest quality ingredients. It’s a relatively simple cocktail that involves only five ingredients: whiskey, bitters, sugar, ice (preferably made from mineral water) and an orange. Follow this recipe on your way to perfection!
The secret to crafting the perfect Old Fashioned is not only in the ingredients, but also how you serve it. When stirring the ice into the drink, you want to allow it to dilute just a tad, but not to the point where the cocktail is perfect. You want to save that experience for when you have the drink in your hand.
Basically, an Old Fashioned has a bell curve of perfection. When you serve it, the cocktail should be slightly too strong and not yet sweet enough, because you did not overly dilute it. As the ice begins to melt, more sugar will be incorporated into the flavor and the whiskey will soften just slightly.
The idea of serving it just before perfection allows you to have (or serve) a drink that tastes better for longer.
Serving an Old Fashioned improperly is like pouring white wine into a red wine glass, or wearing white after Labor Day! Just. Don’t.
If you’re going to go through the process of crafting the perfect Old Fashioned, you might as well serve it in style. Choose a whiskey glass that reflects who you are. (Nothing kills the excitement of an excellent cocktail like serving it in a coffee cup.)
Since whiskey-drinking is a cultural experience, we think you deserve to splurge on your barware. The right presentation reflects your belief that drinking whiskey is about more than just the spirit itself. Some of the key things to look for in a whiskey glass are appearance, drinkability (function), and nose.
You want a glass that will feel and look good in your hand. You also want it to be functionally sound. All too often, manufacturers design really cool glasses that are a pain to drink from. Last but not least, choose a glass with a wide enough mouth to allow the spirit to breathe.
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that cannot (and should not) be crafted with low-quality ingredients that compromise the flavor of the drink. This is a cocktail that dates back to the 1800s. It has withstood the test of time. As the years have passed, the drink has evolved into something that is enjoyed by people all over the country. It may be old fashioned, but it never goes out of style.
What’s your favorite spirit to include in your Old Fashioned?