The Old-Fashioned Cocktail is about as classic as a cocktail gets. Originating around 1806, it’s a drink equally suited to a mans man like Don Draper, a grandma, or a Brooklyn hipster. It adheres to the most classic cocktail combination: sugar, bitters, alcohol, ice. Sounds simple…but for as simple and traditional a drink as the Old-Fashioned, there are an awful lot of opinions out there about precisely how to make one. Rye vs. Bourbon? Sugar vs. Simple Syrup? Water vs. Club Soda? Never mind the question of garnish…there are a number of very adamant articles on the subject. I don’t know about you, but so much debate makes me want a drink.
After surfing a number of sources, we settled upon this version. I like to think we’ve found a recipe that stays true to its heritage…but honestly, you can’t go too wrong. Regardless of the nuanced changes you can make, this is a cocktail-lover’s cocktail. There are no juices or novelty flavors to distract you from the real star of it all, the whisky or bourbon.
Just a few notes: make sure the sugar is fully dissolved before pouring in your liquor, lest you end up with hard sips of liquor on top and syrupy sludge on the bottom. Also, keep the club soda splash as short as possible – it isn't meant to water the cocktail down. And last of all, the matter of garnish: don't tell Don Draper, but that delicious little cherry might just be the whole reason I choose an Old-Fashioned. It can’t be one of those florescent sugar bombs that used to float in my Shirley Temples as a kid. Luxardo brand maraschino cherries are decadent little treats to look forward to when your last sip is gone.
Printable recipe here. Cheers!
(all photos, Jamie Grill Photography)