This is geared to my people out there. You know who you are. Those of you too good for cocktails that involve Red Bull and/or vodka. Those of you who would prefer a $30 bottle of whiskey for the house than $30 worth of bottom shelf Long Islands at the local dive bar. Those of you who don’t want to bury the flavor of a good liquor under sugar water.
This is for you. The Old Fashioned. Balanced. Complex. Classic. Perfect.
WHAT YOU NEED
1) Old fashioned glass (aka rocks glass). Should hold 8-10 ounces. Notice the repetition of GLASS. No plastic Solo cups, plz.
2) Sugar. Regular old table sugar. Nothing fancy. You could use simple syrup, although I would think less of you if you did.
3) Cocktail bitters. I use Angostura because it is what I have on hand.
4) An orange. You will only be using the peel/zest, so make sure the outside is in tact.
5) Ice. Cubed, not crushed, unless you want a slushee, which you don’t.
6) Bourbon whiskey. I am using Woodford Reserve. Rye is traditional, but bourbon is more readily available. Use something good, people. And make sure it is bourbon. If I see you do this with Jack Daniels, we are no longer friends.
7) Maraschino cherries. You will only need one. Stem optional. It is just a garnish.
8) Muddler. This is for muddling. If you don’t know what muddling is, go buy some Red Bull and Smirnoff.
9) Cocktail stirrer. For garnish and stirring purposes.
10) Vegetable peeler. A zester would work as well, but I don’t have one so I use a peeler.
Add 2 teaspoons of sugar to your rocks glass. Then add 1-2 ounces of water and 3 good hard dashes of the bitters. Use your muddler to muddle them for a few minutes until some of the sugar is dissolved. Make sure there is some sugar left undissolved, though. It will come in handy.
Use your vegetable peeler to take a round off of the orange peel, about 1 inch in diameter. Stick to the surface. Don’t take too much of the pith (white layer below the peel) which is bitter and of no help to you. Add it to the glass and use your muddler to muddle the peel in with the mixture. The peel will not only absorb the leftover sugar, but the sugar will pierce the peel and release the delicious and sensuous essential oils that you want mingling with your other ingredients.
Add ice to the glass. You want to go almost to the top. Leave just enough room to add your garnish and be able to stir without spilling.
Top off this bitch with your whiskey. Don’t be prissy about it. Once again, just leave enough room for you to stir and negotiate obstacles without spilling.
Assemble your garnish. The typical garnish for an Old Fashioned is called a flag, and it consists of (for this drink) a strip of orange peel and a maraschino cherry. Use your peeler to take about a 2 inch strip of orange peel. Thread one end onto your cocktail stirrer, pop your cherry’s cherry and then thread the other side of the orange peel strip on. Voila. Flag.
Add your garnish to the drink and give it a few good stirs. Mix it up well so the drink doesn’t finish sweeter than it starts. After stirring comes my personal favorite part – imbibing. Imbibing is the part where your tastebuds thank you for something new and exciting.