The Old Fashioned is one of the most venerable of cocktails, predating not only the motorcar but the presidency of Abe Lincoln. All it takes is serving whiskey, sugar, bitters and, if you like, a cherry or orange garnish on the rocks. Properly made, it's strong but not too strong, sweet but not too sweet, and, most importantly, it's dead-simple and absolutely delicious. The best bitters for an old fashioned are up for debate, but Angostura is classic for a reason, while Fee Brothers offer a welcome alternative.
Why It Works
- Bitters add complexity and dimension to the bourbon or rye.
- Sugar brings subtle sweetness to open the bourbon's aroma.
- Toasted sugar tastes less sweet than plain, and can add a subtle note of caramel to play off the bourbon or rye.
- Yield:Makes 1 cocktail
- Active time: 5 minutes
- Total time:5 minutes
- 1 teaspoon (5g) superfine sugar, toasted sugar, or 1 sugar cube
- 2 to 3 dashes bitters (Angostura is traditional and works well; Fee Brothers’ Whiskey Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned Bitters are better)
- 2 ounces (60ml) bourbon or rye whiskey
- Orange and/or cocktail cherry, such as Luxardo to garnish (optional)
Place sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Douse with bitters and add a few drops of water. Add whiskey and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add several large ice cubes and stir rapidly with a bar spoon to chill. Garnish, if you like, with a slice of orange and/or a cherry.