Like many beloved and treasured traditions, the Old Fashioned cocktail is an adherent to ritual and a conduit for making the old new again, and an endorsement from Don Draper doesn’t hurt its street cred either.
There is something dreamy and romantic about both the making and imbibing of this drink – the clink of the ice, scratch of sugar being muddled with aromatic bitters, and the burst of citrus aroma when the drink encounters your lips. The ritual preparation borders on sacred. It’s no wonder this cocktail is one of the originals. In the 1800’s, by definition, a cocktail was any amalgam of spirits, sugar, bitters and water, and this tried and true original checks all of those boxes.
This iteration of the classic accentuates the orange inherent undertones in the spirit by adorning it with an orange-soaked twist and fortified simple syrup. It can – and has – been argued that this drink can be assembled with either rye whisky or bourbon, and to be completely honest, both are delicious.
This iteration uses bourbon. Bourbon tends to be less sweet than rye whisky, with developed spice and nuanced smoke, a deep and peppery base for the layers of flavours being explored in this drink. It also has a more vibrant, flame-kissed hue, which further emphasizes the orange theme of this drink.
What makes this drink particularly ‘orangey’ is the booze-soaked garnish. Typically, an Old Fashioned is garnished with an orange twist (and sometimes a cherry). Here we infuse the twist with a blend of sweet simple syrup and Orangecello, an orange liqueur with a more natural, bitter flavour than most orange liqueurs. The flavour transfusion between the peel and the fortified simple syrup renders a boozy garnish and authentically orange flavoured syrup which can be used in any cocktail with an orange component, like a Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Sidecar or Kamikaze.
Fortified Orange Syrup / Twist
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of water
½ cup of Orangecello
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until fully combined into simple syrup
Peel the orange with either a peeler, paring knife, or channel knife
In a cleaned glass jar combine the simple syrup, Orangecello, and orange peel and let infuse at least 24 hours (but will keep up to 10 days)
Orangey Old Fashioned
2 Oz bourbon
1 sugar cube
4-5 dashes of orange bitters
1 Oz sparkling water
½ Oz Fortified orange syrup
Quartered slice of orange
Orange infused peel
In an old-fashioned glass place the sugar cube and saturate with bitters
Add the orange slice
Muddle the sugar cube, bitters and orange slice, being mindful to only muddle the flesh, not the pith or rind, as that will make it bitter
Add in the fortified orange syrup, ice, and bourbon and stir with a cocktail spoon thoroughly to combine
Garnish with the infused peel