When Amanda and I first started hanging out in college one of the many things we found that we had in common was our love of Bourbon and Whiskey. Amanda, being a born and raised Tennessean (I may have made that word up,) was a Jack and Coke kind-of-girl. Myself, I was born and raised on Old-Fashioned’s- a classic American cocktail featuring Kentucky bourbon, bitters, a slice of orange, and a maraschino cherry (or three.) While I am no mixology master, I have been making this particular cocktail for many years now and I feel that I have refined it to its best form.
One thing to note, while I am all for premium ingredients, I grew up making this particular cocktail with Ezra Brooks, an inexpensive bourbon that I still personally recommend, especially for mixed drinks. Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek make a great base for Old Fashioned’s, as do blended Canadian whiskies or even scotch. I would also highly recommend investing in a bottle of Luxardo Maraschino Cherries- they’re the differentiating factor between a good and great Old-Fashioned and they are the perfect addition in Manhattan’s as well. Bitters are another place where you can customize the taste of your Old-Fashioned. While Angostura bitters are the norm, I like mixing it up with Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters, which adds a lovely earthy, nutty flavor or Woodford Reserve’s Spiced Cherry Bitters, which plays up on the cherry notes in the cocktail.
My perfect Old-Fashioned:
1 sugar cube
3-5 dashes Angostura bitters
1 orange slice
1-2 Luxardo Maraschino cherries and some of the syrup
2 ½ ounces bourbon
2-3 ounces club soda or water (optional but recommended)
orange slice and cherry for garnish
In the bottom on an old-fashioned glass, saturate the sugar cube with the bitters. Add the slice of orange and cherries and a splash of club soda or water. Muddle all ingredients together, careful not to push too hard on the orange rind so as not to add any bitterness to the drink. You can keep the orange rind in or remove it (for a prettier drink.) Fill the glass with ice, add the bourbon, and stir. I like to add another splash of club soda to top off the drink. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry if desired and enjoy. It’s perfection in a glass!