The history of the Old Fashioned is shrouded in mystery as no one truly knows where it was first invented. Many claim ownership, perhaps the most prominent coming from James E Pepper who insisted that he created the drink while working in a private social club in Kentucky before bringing the recipe to a bar in New York. While it is a solid story, the truth is no one can lay claim to the Old Fashioned as it followed the basic formula for all cocktails of old, namely a spirit, sugar, water and bitters.
Over the years, there have been many variations of the Old Fashioned. As the original drink followed a basic formula, it allowed bartenders and cocktail connoisseurs to get creative, adding extra ingredients and modern twists to make it more to their liking. From using soda and syrup to promoting more fruity notes, if you’re experienced in the art of mixology and are feeling brave, it’s the perfect cocktail to experiment with.
As much as we love a unique creation here at NIO, we also believe that you just can’t beat a classic. So, if you want to learn how to make a traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail follow the recipe below.
Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
As a drink with such strong, complex flavours, it often surprises people to learn how simple the Old Fashioned is to make. However the challenge is to find the perfect balance of ingredients so as not to overpower the whiskey but to enhance it.
- 60ml bourbon
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- ½ teaspoon liquid sugar
- 1 teaspoon water (this is to help enhance the flavour by slightly diluting the alcohol)
For the garnish:
- Orange peel
- Lowball glass
- Add the liquid sugar, bitters and water to a glass and mix until combined.
- Fill the glass with ice and pour in the whiskey.
- Stir well.
- Express the orange peel over the drink then drop it in the glass.
Old Fashioned Recipe Tips and Tricks
Looking to take your Old Fashioned cocktail to the next level? Here are our top tips and tricks:
What Glass is Best for an Old Fashioned Cocktail?
The different types of cocktail glasses you use plays an important role in bringing out the complexities of flavours, aromas and colours of the cocktails. Lowball glasses are the best to use for an Old Fashioned, and so on the money that they’re often referred to as an Old Fashioned glass. Thanks to their solid bases and thick rim, this style of glass is popular to use with drinks that have strong ingredients to help release the flavours and aromas.
An Ice Ball is best for an Old Fashioned Cocktail
Similar in concept to different types of cocktail glasses, there are also different types of ice to use in cocktails that will help to enhance your drink. While standard ice cubes will work well with virtually any drink, if you want to go the extra mile, an ice ball is best to use in an Old Fashioned. This is because they keep the drink cool and melt slowly, meaning the ice won’t over-dilute the flavour of the whiskey.
Use a Sugar Cube for More Texture
Using sugar syrup is a more modern way to make an Old Fashioned as it’s much more convenient. But if you want to add extra weight and texture, and craft your cocktail like they did in the 19th century, this is the way to go. Using either ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar or 1 sugar cube, simply stir it in with the bitters and water until it’s fully dissolved.
Experiment with Flavour
If you want to spice things up, introducing orange bitters is an excellent choice for adding more flavour without making it too overpowering. Some whiskeys can handle more unusual flavours too such as chocolate, rhubarb or peach, giving you plenty to work with when it comes to creating your perfect Old Fashioned.
Try our superb quality, premixed Old Fashioned cocktail which blends together Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey with a dash of aromatic and orange bitters and sugar for a perfectly balanced drink.