New Fashioned Old Fashioned
Bars & Drinks Seller Server Classes
Mike Parker

You really can’t consider yourself to be a knowledgeable mixologist if you don’t know how to make an Old Fashioned. It is, after all, one of oldest cocktails on record. As far back as the turn of the 19th century, the term ‘cocktail’ was defined as a drink that contained four basic elements; spirits, bitters, sugar and water. Of course, that definition leaves a lot of room for improvisation, and resulting ‘old fashioned’ cocktail of the mid-19th century might have been made with any spirit from absinthe to orange curacao. But by the end of that century the recipe for the Old Fashioned had become fairly well established as a lump of sugar, muddled with a couple of dashes of bitters, dissolved in water, add ice and 1.5 oz. whiskey (typically rye, rather than bourbon). Garnish with a cocktail cherry and an orange twist.

But just because your granddaddy used to drink his Old Fashioned the old-fashioned way is no reason you must stick to the official International Bartenders Association recipe. As long as the four basic elements are present, you can let your imagination go wild. Consider using simple syrup instead of a sugar cube (or maybe even try maple syrup instead of simple syrup). Or substitute orange bitters for Angostura bitters. There’s no rule that says you have to use rye whiskey. If you prefer bourbon, go ahead. Or let your inner hillbilly out and use moonshine (sometimes referred to as white whiskey). For that matter, you don’t have to use whiskey as the spirit. How about a rum Old Fashioned, or a tequila Old Fashioned, or a vodka Old Fashioned? Substitute seltzer water for regular water for a fizzy Old Fashioned, or add cinnamon pumpkin syrup instead of sugar for a seasonal taste.

But if you’re planning on serving your new concoction to friends for an evening get together, be sure to try it out on your own tastebuds first. It’s easy to create a new Old Fashioned taste, but that doesn’t mean the taste is good.

Always drink responsibly.

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