The old fashioned cocktail is a cocktail as rich with history as flavor, and my personal favorite drink of choice. I love the simplicity, complexity, aroma, flavor and even the history of it. An old fashioned can be whipped up in a matter of seconds with 3 simple ingredients of whiskey, bitters, and simple syrup, or it can be crafted carefully with many ingredient and garnish variations. The best old fashioned I ever had stuck to the roots of the classic cocktail with just a few small, yet delightful changes, which changed my taste for the cocktail forever.
I settled into a local bar one after noon after enjoying a Kansas City Royals baseball game. After a few cold beers at the game it was time for a change. This particular bar was known for their craft whiskey concoctions, so I didn't hesitate to place my order for an old fashioned. I didn't have a good view of the bartender, but the staff behind the bar moved so quickly it would have been hard to keep up even if I did. Shortly after, the cocktail arrived. A few observations worth pointing out:
- The drink was served in traditional low ball whiskey cocktail glass
- There were no ice cubes, sphere, or block
- The orange peel garnish was in the drink, not on the rim; cocktail cherry rested on the bottom of the glass
- The smell of toasted wood and very slight wave of smoke still visible on the drink was very intriguing.
I started with a swirl and whiff. First, the clean and refreshing smell of the orange peel hit me followed by the campfire-like smoke aroma, and finally the whiskey and sweetness finished it off. This smoked cocktail now had my attention and I couldn't wait to take my first sip. The drink did not disappoint. First the drink mix had clearly been shaken with ice before being poured into the cocktail glass. I loved it chilled like this. I had always made my own Old Fashioneds on the ball or cube of ice. The cool temperature of this shaken cocktail held up surprisingly well through out the cocktail, although it's hard to say because it didn't last long.
All of the flavors and portions of ingredients just worked perfectly in this cocktail. The whiskey was the most present flavor, which is what you want. The bitters and other ingredients just complimented it. I didn't hesitate to order another when the waitress returned and I facetiously asked the waitress to bring the recipe back with the next drink. To my surprise, she did! Down to the 1/8 oz of ingredients, she had it written down for me on a napkin with the liquor brands and instructions included. I always thought recipes at craft cocktail bars like this one, the recipe was the secret sauce and therefore they wouldn't be so quick to share it. Perhaps this isn't typically the case.
So, now I pay it forward by sharing the details here with you. I hope you enjoy your version as much as I did mine. It's been a few years since I had this smoked old fashioned and although many have come close, it is still the undefeated champion in my history of old fashioned cocktails.
See our post for the Best Old Fashioned Smoker
I hope you enjoy this cocktail as much as I did. If you ever come across an old fashioned which could give this one a run for its money, please leave the location in the comments and I'll add it to my list. Cheers, Jim Chief Marketing Officer, Aged & Charred
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