The old-fashioned is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for generations. Developed during the 19th century, the old-fashioned cocktail is one of the oldest drinks. Made with just a few simple ingredients, it is a perfect balance of sweet and strong.
Made by muddling sugar with bitters and water, adding whiskey (typically rye or bourbon), and garnishing with an orange slice or zest and cocktail cherry, this iconic beverage is typically served in an old-fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass).
While it may seem like a simple drink, the old-fashioned is actually quite complex – both in terms of its history and its flavor profile.
Interestingly, the old-fashioned is one of the earliest documented cocktails, predating many of the more complex drinks that would come later in the 19th century.
The classic recipe consists of whiskey, bitters, sugar, and an orange peel, and while there are many variations of this drink, the essential ingredients remain the same.
At that time, a cocktail was defined as “a stimulating liquor composed of any kind of sugar, water, and bitters” – a definition that would no doubt still be familiar to fans of this classic drink today.
So next time you order an old-fashioned at your favorite bar, take a moment to appreciate this timeless beverage – and all the history that comes with it.
What is an Old Fashioned Cocktail
There are many variations of the Old Fashioned cocktail, but the most common ingredients are simple and easy to find.
The key to making the cocktail is to use high-quality ingredients and to take your time in creating the drink. A well-made Old Fashioned should be smooth and flavourful, with a balance of sweet and bitter flavors.
The exact recipe for it varies depending on the bartender, but the basic ingredients are always the same. The whiskey is most commonly rye or bourbon, although any type of whiskey can be used.
The bitters add a complex flavor to the drink, and the sugar helps to balance out the bitterness. The citrus peel is used for both taste and decoration.
The Best Whiskey to Use in an Old Fashioned
While any kind of whiskey can be used in an Old Fashioned, some are better suited to the drink than others. However, when it comes to choosing the best whiskey for it, there are a few factors to consider.
First, the whiskey should have a bold flavour that can stand up to the other ingredients in the cocktail. Second, it should be a smooth whiskey that will not overpower the drink. And finally, it should be a whiskey that has a bit of sweetness to it, as this will help to balance out the bitterness of the bitters.
The Best Bourbon For an Old Fashioned
Bourbon whiskey is a good choice for an Old Fashioned because of its sweet flavor. The sweetness helps to offset the bitterness brought on by the bitters, while also complementing the citrus notes, creating a well-balanced drink.
Additionally, bourbon whiskey tends to have a higher proof than other types of whiskey, which means that it will retain its flavor even when diluted with water or ice.
With these factors in mind, some of the best whiskeys to use in an old fashion include Bulleit Bourbon, Knob Creek Bourbon, and Maker’s Mark Bourbon.
Bulleit Bourbon is a high-quality whiskey inspired by the whiskey pioneered over 150 years ago.
The uniqueness of Bulleit Bourbon comes from its blend of rye, corn, and barley malt, which gives it a bold and spicy character. In addition, the Kentucky limestone-filtered water provides the bourbon with a light and refreshing taste.
Bulleit Bourbon earned a gold medal at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, proving that it is a top-quality whiskey. If you’re looking for a unique and well-crafted old-fashioned look no further than Bulleit.
Knob Creek 9-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is widely considered to be a benchmark in the bourbon category. This premium whiskey is made from a mash of corn, rye, and barley, and is aged in white oak barrels for nine years.
The 9-year is bottled at 100 proof, which provides a bolder flavor than many other bourbons on the market.
Knob Creek is smooth and well-balanced despite its high proof, with notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel. Additionally, Knob Creek has a long finish that lingers on the palate.
Maker’s Mark is a bourbon whiskey produced in Loretto, Kentucky, by Beam Suntory. It is made from special corn, wheat, and barley malt recipe, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels.
The result is a less spicy whiskey than those made with rye, with a distinctively smooth flavor.
When you bring a glass of Maker’s Mark to your nose, you’ll smell spiced honey, cut fruit, and citrus peel. Have a sip, and you’ll taste barley malt, butterscotch, and vanilla bean that gradually bloom on your tongue.
The finish is of medium length with gentle caramel and dry oak spice.
Best Rye Whiskey For an Old Fashioned
Rye has a bold, spicy flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of sugar and the bitterness of citrus.
There are many great rye whiskey brands on the market, but some of our favorites include Sazerac Rye, WhistlePig Rye 10 Year, and Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. All of these whiskies would make a great Old Fashioned, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Sazerac Rye Whiskey is a rye whiskey that originates from New Orleans. The whiskey has a light body and a sweet taste with notes of apricots, orange peel, plums, caramel, and vanilla.
There is also a hint of barrel char and raisin in the background. The 90-proof whiskey is perfect for starring in a cocktail.
WhistlePig Rye 10 Year is a 100-proof, 100-percent rye whiskey that has been aged for at least ten years. It is made through a unique double-barrel process that gives it warm wooden notes from the three-year oak bourbon cask aging.
It also has hints of vanilla, caramel, dried orange peel, cinnamon, allspice, and clove. It offers caramel and vanilla flavors to stand up to the classic rye spiciness that emerges on the mid-palate. Later, dark chocolate and peppermint notes appear.
The finish is an almost creamy flavor, leaving notes of vanilla, orange, and caramel before hints of dark chocolate linger on the tongue.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a perfectly balanced rye whiskey. It is distilled, matured, and bottled in Kentucky.
It has a lower amount of rye in the mash bill than most contemporary rye whiskies, making it more representative of a traditional Kentucky Rye. Its bold character and emphasis on spice make for a long and sweetly spiced finish.
If you are looking for a classic cocktail that will never go out of style, the old-fashioned is a perfect choice. This drink has been enjoyed by people for generations and is still a favorite today.
The Best Whiskey For Old Fashioned – Conclusion
It is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients and always tastes great. Whether you are hosting a party or just want something to relax with after work, the old-fashioned drink is perfect for any occasion.
If you want more mixing guides for whiskey, check out our articles on the best whiskey for a Highball Cocktail or a Manhattan.