The Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic mixed drink that has been enjoyed for over 150 years. The exact origins of the Old Fashioned are somewhat disputed, but it is generally believed to have originated in the late 1800s.
According to one popular story, the Old Fashioned was created at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1870s. The drink was reportedly named after the “old fashioned” way of making cocktails, which involved muddling sugar, bitters, and water together before adding whiskey or brandy.
Another theory suggests that the Old Fashioned was invented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City in the early 1880s. The bartender at the time, a man named Jimmie Roman, is said to have created the drink for a customer who was looking for a cocktail that was “old fashioned.”
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Regardless of its exact origins, the Old Fashioned became a popular drink in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and it has remained a classic cocktail to this day.
Old Fashioned Basics…
An Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that consists of a few basic ingredients:
- Whiskey or brandy: This is the main alcohol component of the Old Fashioned. You can use any type of whiskey or brandy that you prefer, such as bourbon, rye, or cognac.
- Bitters: Bitters are a key ingredient in an Old Fashioned, as they add depth and complexity to the flavor of the drink. The most common type of bitters used in an Old Fashioned is Angostura bitters.
- Sugar: The Old Fashioned is traditionally sweetened with a simple syrup made from equal parts granulated sugar and water. You can also use a sugar cube if you prefer.
- Water: A small amount of water is added to the Old Fashioned to help dissolve the sugar and to help balance the flavors of the drink.
To make an Old Fashioned, you will need to:
- Combine the whiskey or brandy, bitters, and sugar in a mixing glass.
- Add a small amount of water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour the mixture over the ice.
- Garnish the drink with an orange peel and serve.
You can also add a cherry or a slice of orange to the Old Fashioned if you like. Some people also like to add a splash of club soda to the drink to give it a little extra effervescence. Experiment with different variations to find the combination that you like best.
4 Great Holiday Twists on the Old-Fashioned
Here are a few ideas for simple syrups that you can use to make a creative old-fashioned cocktail for the holidays:
- Cinnamon simple syrup: Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Add a few cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain out the cinnamon sticks before using.
- Ginger simple syrup: Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Add a few slices of fresh ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain out the ginger slices before using.
- Cranberry simple syrup: Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Add a cup of fresh or frozen cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain out the cranberries before using.
- Orange simple syrup: Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a saucepan. Add the zest of one orange and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool. Strain out the orange zest before using.
To make an old-fashioned cocktail using any of these simple syrups, mix together 2 ounces of your choice of whiskey, 1/2 ounce of the simple syrup, and 2 dashes of bitters. Serve over ice and garnish with an orange peel if desired. Enjoy!