The old fashioned cocktail recipe combines whiskey, bitters and a sugar cube. Every one of these elements plays an important role in the drink.
In that sense, making the best old fashioned cocktail relies on proportions. You want to be able to taste everything. You're not drinking a neat whiskey, and you're not drinking syrup.
An important thing you want to mind with the old fashioned is whiskey choice. Though it’s a sugary treat, it’s more whiskey than sugar. And it’s a historic favorite you don’t want to serve your friends half-assed.
Make sure you get that top-shelf bourbon or rye whiskey for the best old fashioned. Rye and bourbon are fairly similar, but they have important differences in flavor that can change the old fashioned cocktail recipe.
What's the Difference Between Rye and Bourbon?
Bourbon is made of mostly corn. Rye is made of mostly rye. Bourbon is known to be more on the sweet side, from the corn mash. Rye, on the other hand, tends to be drier and spicier.
If you’ve ever had them confused – don’t worry, you’re not alone. Aside from those ingredient differences, the standards for making them almost identical.
Whichever whiskey you decide to use, you want this to seem like a glass of whiskey with a slight flavor upgrade.
But again, don’t take that lightly. The old fashioned is a serious cocktail with a deep history – it’s about 200 years old, in fact. It’s on of the earliest cocktails in existence!
That's probably why everyone's loved the classic old fashioned recipe for centuries.
The old fashioned is also the favorite drink of Mad Men character Don Draper. The show is arguably responsible, in part, for the craft cocktail revival of the early 2000s.
For good measure, we included some of this cocktail's whiskey cousins in this collection: the Manhattan, Mint Julep, and some fruity spins.