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Smoked Old Fashioned

by Jim Passantino September 28, 2021 3 min read

How to Make the Best Old Fashioned Cocktail

The old fashioned, a classic cocktail with three simple ingredients (at least to get you started): whiskey / bourbon, simple syrup, bitters.  If you have these three ingredients, you have an old fashioned, but it's never quite that simple right?

Here's what you need to know about the three main ingredients.
Bourbon / Whiskey... Bourbon is a type of whiskey.  That's that for now.  An old fashioned can be made from bourbon or whiskey.  Bourbon old fashioneds are more popular, probably because of the rising popularity of bourbon.  Here's the important part...

Since we're going to be adding syrup and bitters to the bourbon, lets not use that 12 year aged bourbon you've been saving for a special occasion.  Drink that one neat or on the rocks.  When mixing bourbon with other ingredients a decent $30 - $35 bottle will do.  Bulleit, Knob Creek, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Small Batch, and more are great choices. 

Simple Syrup is as simple as you think.  Equal parts sugar and water, in any quantity.  One cup of each is a good place to start.  Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  The longer you boil the more water evaporates and the syrup gets thicker.  3 - 5 minutes of boiling should be plenty then remove from heat.

Bitters can be purchased at most liquor stores.  Bitters consist of a high concentration of botanicals with a small amount of alcohol, adding a spicy, herbal, and aromatic profile to any cocktail.  One small bottle of bitters goes a long way, so a high quality bottle is worth an extra buck. 

Now you know the basics of the basic old fashioned cocktail.  However, while even a basic old fashioned is a signature cocktail, a few extra steps will knock this drink out of the park and leave your guests begging for the recipe. 

How to turn the basic old fashioned into a conversation piece for you and guests, or for you and bartender you.

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Bourbon Whiskey - Good bourbon works great.  Don't go cheap, but a $30-ish bourbon is good.  If you happen to get lucky and have Buffalo Trace or Weller's Special Reserve, even better. 
  • 1/2oz Simple Syrup - This ingredient is key and will separate a premium old fashioned from a staple old fashioned. Try infusing your simple syrup with fruit, herbs, and spices.  Let your pallet be your guide; orange peel, lemon peel, apple, cherry, maple syrup, chocolate, cinnamon, ginger, honey and more all make great flavor additions.  Allow these soak in the simple syrup for 1 - 2 days.  Mix and match the flavors to find the perfect flavored simple syrup for you. 
  • Bitters - We recommend Angostura Aromatic Bitters.  A couple dashes and the aroma from the cocktail will have your taste buds begging you for a sip.
  • Luxardo Maraschino Cherries - Use a spoon to scoop up 2 cherries and a bit of the syrup.  These cherries have become the delicacy of the old fashioned cocktail.  They are pricey, but one jar goes a long way.
  • Smoke - This is the difference maker.  If you want to serve an old fashioned your guests will never forget, smoke it.  The Smoke Lid from Aged & Charred makes this step quick and easy.  In addition to adding another flavor profile to your cocktail, it is an entertainment piece you and your guests will love.  Follow the instructions which come with the Smoke Lid to add just the right amount of smoke.
  • Orange Peel - For garnish

Instructions

Combine bourbon, flavored simple syrup, and bitters in cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake for about 20 seconds and then strain in a whiskey glass.  Add the Luxardo cherries, and then smoke the cocktail with the Aged & Charred Smoke Lid.  Garnish with orange peel on rim or in the drink and enjoy.

If you choose to keep it simple, we got ya:

  • 2oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup (simple syrup recipe below)
  • 2 - 3 dashes of bitters
  • Garnish with orange peel

Don't just throw it all together in a glass and stir though.  You have a few options here to wrap up the quick and easy old fashioned.  The preferred method is to combine these ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until chilled, then strain into a glass with no ice.  Add the orange peel garnish and voila.  

We hope you enjoy your old fashioned as much as we do.  Subscribe to our newsletter for more recipes and tips. 


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