DrinkFood and DrinkHow To

Make a Better Old Fashioned

Ever since the movie Cocktail, it is no longer acceptable for a man to be unable to make at least one solid drink. There are, of course, hundreds of different cocktails that you can choose to make, but the art of being manly is about getting maximum rewards from minimal effort (don’t say it out loud though). For this reason, we are going to be teaching you how to make a standard that will impress anyone with discerning tastes: An Old Fashioned.

Not only is this a delicious tasting cocktail, it is also seriously cool. Ordering an Old Fashioned at a bar is going to make you look 5 times cooler than any other guy there (sorry Coors Light drinkers). Making your own is of course even manlier still.

The Old Fashioned cocktail was first invented in 1806 in New York. The recipe was written down in the late 19th Century by George Kappeler. What’s great about the recipe is that in over 200 years it has remained unchanged. It still uses Angostura Bitters, Lemon Peel, sugar, water, and whiskey. You can add an orange peel instead of lemon if you want, and even substitute the whiskey for brandy, but the main parts of this recipe will always be the same.

How to Mix an Old Fashioned

To start off with, you want a short tumbler that you’d usually drink a straight whiskey from. Whatever glass you pick should have a wide brim and a thick base, this is because you will be mixing this drink quite aggressively.

  1. Pour water into a shot glass and add a lump of sugar, leave it to dissolve then pour into the glass.
  2. Pour in two drops of Angostura Bitters, and then add an ice cube.
  3. Peel a lemon and place the peel around the glass in a spiral.
  4. Add in a shot of whiskey and then stir with a spoon.

Simple enough? This drink is all about presentation.

Use the wrong glass and it will look like a joke.

Use a badly peeled lemon and it will look ridiculous.

Use too small an ice cube and it will look like a lazy whiskey on the rocks.

If you want to be fancy, add in a cranberry as a garnish–maybe that one’s a little lighter on the bourbon and for your date because, let’s face it, it’s going to be a stiff drink for her.

Chose wisely and be the envy of anyone you serve this to. Chose poorly and we may take your man card away.

What Liquor Should I Use?

First things first, you need an American whiskey. No Scotch, no Irish, no English and not even Canadian! This means you’ll need a solid American Bourbon or Rye. Out of those two, it really comes down to personal preference.

Bourbon tends to be sweeter, due to it being mostly made from Corn. Rye tends to be dryer thanks to it being mostly made from rye (why did you think it was called Rye genius?). Both make an excellent Old Fashioned, but you need to decide whether you want it to be sweeter or spicier.

If you decide on Bourbon, then a Jim Beam Bourbon, Bulleit Straight Bourbon or the new Merica Bourbon are great choices. You could also consider a Buffalo Trace Bourbon which contains a great balance of Corn and Rye, making it an excellent compromise between the two. A great Rye choice would be WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey or perhaps Rittenhouse Rye.

Final Thoughts

This cocktail really is excellent, and its secret is in its simplicity. You might be tempted to look up amazing variations and substitutions, but you’ll never be as satisfied with those as you would be with the original. Purchase a really decent whiskey, get yourself a proper glass, learn how to spiral peel a lemon, and don’t overdo it with the sugar water, and you’ll have the perfect Old Fashioned that will impress your friends.

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