As its name suggests, the Old Fashioned is a very old cocktail. So old, in fact, that it may have been the progenitor to the entire category. The first known appearance of the word “cocktail” in print was in 1806, in an article in The Balance and Columbian Repository, the newspaper of Claverack, New York. They defined it as “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.” Sounds suspiciously like an Old Fashioned to us.
More than 200 years later, this ur-cocktail is still one of America’s most beloved drinks. It manages to be both refreshingly simple, and remarkably fertile ground for experimentation and exploration.
While you can enjoy it with any spirit--rum, brandy, even anejo tequila--we’re partial to a classic whiskey version. Just don’t skimp on quality. “The simplicity of an Old Fashioned is what makes it a versatile and accessible cocktail, but it can also be the thing to ruin it,” says Nic Christiansen, award-winning mixologist and Barrell Craft Spirits’ Manger of blending operations. “Every ingredient makes an impact, especially the bourbon.”
This version from Nic pairs our non-cask strength Foundation Bourbon with a dressed-up Demerara syrup and a few dashes of Angostura Bitters. “The bourbon on its own has so many layers of flavor, with the combination of oak and tropical fruit and the rich mouthfeel,” says Nic. “When you add the demerara and the bitters, it becomes a luscious delicacy.”
2 oz Foundation Bourbon
1 bar spoon or teaspoon Demerara Syrup
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass, fill with ice, stir then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Preferably a large cube. Once in the glass express an orange and lemon peel over the glass then place in glass.
Demerara Syrup Recipe – 2-1 Ratio
2 cups Demerara
1 cup water
Add ingredients to a saucepan and whisk on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool and keep in refrigerator.