Alice Drink of the Season – the Old-Fashioned, back and forever in style

By Leah Stroup

The Old-Fashioned is dignified as being one of the original ‘cocktails’. This classy standard is a brassy, mother sauce-d recipe that must include the following four basic items: spirit, sugar, bitters, and water. Historically, this golden ratio cocktail was first mentioned in print in the early 1800s. Nowadays the flavor combinations are a choose-your-own-adventure not just limited to whiskey. Every version is a great way to test out any new spirit, and figure out what you think.

How to mix the basic ratio for an Old-Fashioned cocktail:

Build the drink in your glass

  • 1 natural sugar cube, or use ½ – 1 oz. sweetener of choice
  • Add 3 dashes of bitters (2 dashes Angostura & 1 dash orange bitters works well)
  • Muddle, and if necessary add a dash of soda water to make a paste
  • Add 2 oz. spirits
  • Add ice after all ingredients
  • Stir well
  • Traditional garnish is orange & cherry

There are many spirit to sweet combinations: scotch paired with honey, tequila with agave, run with dark sugar. Get creative by adding a small dose of an accompanying spirit —an herbal liqueur or mezcal or something interesting… use a flavored syrup or even maple syrup. The most influential flavor trick is to simply switch the bitters (which is basically a bartender’s salt & pepper.)

There is one notable Old-Fashioned variation – the Wisconsin Old-Fashioned, which is muddled orange slice and cherry over white sugar soaked in bitters and often with brandy. And the Hot Toddy is similar to the Old-Fashioned but served hot with lemon, honey and cloves (for a healthier version add apple cider vinegar and hot ginger water.)

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