How to make the perfect Old Fashioned

World Best Bar

May 04, 2020

How to make the perfect Old Fashioned
As far as cocktail recipes go, an Old Fashioned sounds like a pretty straightforward drink to mix. A splash of bourbon, some sugar and a few dashes of bitters.

So how come people get it wrong so often? Probably because they’re making a couple of faux pas. Here’s a quick guide to keeping these all too common mistakes out of your glass.

Don’t think you can get away with cheap whiskey

A proper Old Fashioned is over 80% whiskey, so if you go for the low-cost, low-taste option, your results will suffer. If you want to really enjoy this drink, it’s worth investing in a quality bottle of bourbon to bring out the rich, smoky flavours that are its signature taste.

Don’t leave the crystals in

Sipping a drink that you also have to chew is far from ideal. If the connoisseur in you insists on using real sugar, then keep in mind that it won’t dissolve properly in alcohol. Add the sugar to your glass first, then the bitters, and stir like crazy. Once the graininess looks mostly gone, add ice, and finally the whiskey and keep stirring like mad. Alternatively, make up your own simple sugar syrup in advance, by heating 2 parts brown sugar with 1-part water. It keeps for ages and will spare you and your guests the crunchy cocktail experience.

Don’t drown it in club soda

Apparently this cocktail crime became popular during the Prohibition era, when people had to stretch contraband liquor as far as it could go. It’s still popular today – probably because it helps the sugar dissolve. Nonetheless, soda is not an original ingredient and can easily overwhelm what is supposed to be a very boozy cocktail. Go very light on it – if you use it at all.

Do keep the recipe classic

This mix has been around for over a century for a reason; you don’t need to reinvent it. To get the classic taste, fill an Old Fashioned glass with cracked ice, pour in 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, followed by a ¼ oz syrup and 2 oz of bourbon. You now have a proper Old Fashioned. Stir, garnish with an orange peel and serve.

Steer clear of these mixology mistakes and you’ll make an Old Fashioned that Don Draper himself would be proud of.

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