The old fashioned has been around for a very long time. Long enough to have a name like old-fashioned which is derived from bar patrons requesting the drink to be made the ‘old fashioned’ way. Although the drink has its roots in Kentucky, you can find many versions of it throughout the U.S. Chances are if you are a southerner you have been in the company of many whose go-to before-dinner drink is an old fashioned. Recently it seems the old fashioned is becoming increasingly popular. I have noticed it appearing on menus in a new form, the smoked old fashion. This led me to wonder, is the old-fashioned new again?
I first became aware of the old-fashioned when I met my husband. Growing up in southern Louisiana I was not familiar with the drink. Yes, I know, very shocking! My husband’s grandmother, Annie, was the quintessential southern lady. She had faith-rooted deeper than anyone I know, a classic and elegant sense of fashion, a jewelry collection fit for a queen, wisdom to share for every challenge dealt by life, and last but not least she held the key to all family recipes. One recipe is that of the perfect southern old fashioned.
Sunday Afternoon Sipping
The old fashioned seems to be a ritualistic type of drink. The drink is best made with a fine bourbon and enjoyed by sipping slowly in the presence of good company and even greater conversation. For many southerners, this makes the drink perfect for Sunday afternoon family gatherings. Observing my husband’s family, I have noticed as much pride going into making the drink as there is in enjoyment of sipping it! Not once have I attempted to serve this drink as it always seemed to me the recipe was held by a select few. Recently at Christmas, I asked my brother-in-law if he would mind showing me how it’s done. Surprisingly, he was more than happy to let me in on the family recipe, sharing tips on the best ingredients and mixing instructions. Turns out, the secret recipe wasn’t a secret after all!
1 muddled cherry
3 dashes orange bitters
5 dashes bitters
1 T simple syrup
2 oz Kentucky bourbon (the finer the Bourbon the better the drink)
1 strip orange zest
Handful of ice
Muddle cherry in the bottom of the glass, add 3 dashes of orange bitters, 5 dashes of regular bitters, 1 Tablespoon of simple syrup, 2 oz Kentucky Bourbon and a strip of orange zest. Throw in a handful of ice and gently stir. This drink is best served in a crystal tumbler.
Tips and Twists on the Old Fashioned Cocktail
Any simple syrup will work; however, for best results try Sirop de Saizon specifically for Old Fashioned Cocktails. If you’re a fan of mixers, Bites and Boards offers an array of choices for custom at-home cocktails. Try the orange peel and bitters to replace the orange peel and bitters listed in the recipe. Also, amaretto cherries make for the best muddling!
Now you have everything you need to make the perfect old fashion at home. Happy Sipping!