I believe the first spirit to touch my lips many years ago was a sip of Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7. Of course it burned from the tip of my tongue to the very soles of my feet; but it was right then and there that my love affair with whiskey, bourbon, and scotch began.
Old Fashioned cocktails are like chocolate chip cookies – everyone has a recipe, and everyone thinks theirs is the best. I probably spent the better part of three years trying to come up with the perfect Old Fashioned recipe and several more refining my technique.
Before concocting a recipe that I would even consider serving to a guest, I made dozens of drinks and was forced to choke down my failure each time (sacrifice in the name of perfection). Nothing motivates a person quite like a bad cocktail – the burn, the bitterness, it’s like defeat in a glass. However, I would not let my spirits be so easily crushed. Get it, spirits… So, when I felt the need for a drink, I’d pick myself up by the boot straps, whisper a prayer to the patron saint of whiskey, Jack Daniels himself, and I’d try, try again.
With that said, my pain is now your blessing.
The Old Fashioned:
4 oz* – Bourbon of choice
¾ oz* – Simple Syrup
4 dashes – Angostura Aromatic Bitters
2 – Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries (These are fairly expensive compared to other cherries, but totally worth it)
Orange peel – Garnish/Twist
* A US shot glass is roughly 2 oz
To mix you’ll need a highball glass or a mixing glass of your choice. Begin by adding your bitters, I like to use roughly 4 dashes. This should evenly coat the bottom of the glass. Then I’ll add my bourbon and follow it with the simple syrup. At this point you’ll want to give the mixture a few stirs and then add ice, 6-8 pieces. Stir the mixture until the glass is chilled. I like to then taste my cocktail and adjust as needed. Pour in to a fresh glass with a large ice cube, if a large format cube isn’t available just use fresh ice. You’ll then add your cherries and garnish with the orange peel. Before adding the orange garnish to your drink you’ll want to twist the peel over the drink releasing the oils onto the surface of the cocktail. Lastly rub the orange twist on the rim of the glass and then deposit it into the drink.
After all that hard work, you deserve a drink. Find yourself a nice place to rest your weary bones and enjoy your cocktail in peace.
You’ve earned it.
Want to learn a little more about the history of this delicious libation? Check out this article from Thrillist.