The history of the Old Fashioned is the history of cocktails. It starts with “slings”, that in the early 1800’s was “liquor, water and sugar”. The evolution of the cocktail changed it in the middle of the century, becoming a “bittered sling”. Composed of liquor, water, sugar, and bitters, so what happened to the Old Fashioned? How did it go from a Whiskey cocktail to its present place where there are so many varieties and ways to make it today? As cocktails became more complex, many “improved” variations on existing recipes started to come into vogue in the late 1800s. In order to differentiate between these newfangled elixirs and the original, patrons who wanted a glass of bourbon, sugar, and bitters without all the new stuff would ask for an “Old Fashioned” whiskey cocktail. This was quickly shortened to simply an “Old Fashioned”, the name under which it’s been known as for many decades since.
The key to a good “Old Fashioned”, no matter what you use for liquor is the orange zest. You want to get a good, healthy chunk of fresh orange peel, with as little pith as possible, and you want to muddle it, releasing the essential oils to join the sugar, but the important thing is to mash that peel up good. The “Old Fashioned” is not clear, it is a murky cocktail, if it isn’t, you haven’t muddled enough. The standard “Old Fashioned” is quite simple. 2.5 oz. Bourbon, 1 Sugar Cube, Heavy Dash Angostura Bitters and an Orange Zest. Muddle the orange peel, sugar, and bitters at the bottom of a mixing glass until the orange peel is thoroughly beaten up. Add the bourbon and ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled “rocks glass” filled with fresh ice and garnish with an orange zest.
- 2 ½ oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
- 2 Orange Zests
The Cocktail is made the same way as the original, but good rum is the real significant difference.