Smoky Old Fashioned

Categories Mixology

What to do with an orange that is about to go bad?  Many of my close friends (shout out to Neal, Sonnet and Jeanne) would know the immediate answer.  Use it in an Old Fashioned, of course.  This drink was given its name in the 1880s.  Interestingly, the drink probably stems from an 1860’s gin cocktail make with sugar, bitters, lemon and called an Old Fashioned Holland Gin Cocktail.  However, our bourbon Old Fashioned is linked to a Louisville bartender, James E. Pepper.  And, he is credited for taking it to New York City where it became famous.  It is actually listed as a recipe in the 1895 bartending book, Modern American Drinks, by George Kappeler. Now, why a drink was called old fashioned in the 1800s is not obvious.

The Old Fashioned cocktail is made with bourbon or rye whiskey.  Tonight, we use WhistlePig Rye whiskey.  WhistlePig is an American rye whiskey from Vermont.  American rye whiskey must have 51% of rye in its mash of grains.  The other grains are typically corn, barley and sorghum.  To make it a bit more exciting, I use smoked simple syrup instead of a sugar cube.  I personally love a smoky flavor.  The bitters I used are golden bitters from the Strongwater bitter collection.  I also like to muddle my orange and sugar with a frozen dark sweet cherry for a bit of a tart background taste. 

Smoky Old Fashioned Recipe

  • Muddle 2 teaspoons of smoky simple syrup and 2 dashes of bitters with an orange slice and a frozen dark cherry
  • Add 2 ounces of rye whiskey
  • Add ice
  • Stir and strain into a rocks glass……also known as an Old Fashioned glass
  • I prefer to strain over one large sphere of ice, but to serve it up (no ice) is acceptable as well
  • I like to garnish with a flag (orange and maraschino cherry), but ask first as some like no garnish


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