Few recipes in the cocktail kingdom are as divisive as the Old Fashioned. Originating in the early 1800s, two centuries of experimentation have bred variations that include everything from burnt sugar to agave spirits. Among bartenders, common points of contention include the type of whiskey — bourbon or rye — the addition of club soda, or the presence of a cherry.
You could, of course, simply listen to Kai Parrott-Wolfe, a Brooklyn bartender who ran the menu at beloved Brooklyn bar Post Office: rye whiskey (he recommends Old Overholdt), no soda and no cherry. “There’s very little in this version of the drink that isn’t booze so you hardly ever get to a point where it becomes a watered-down cocktail,” he says. “Unless you’re simply not drinking it.” As a general rule, keep it simple, like the drink itself.
The Old Fashioned
Makes one cocktail
1 Demerara sugar cube
2 ounces of rye whiskey
Regan’s orange bitters
1. Put 1 Demerara sugar cube in a rocks glass, add 2 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters and 2 dashes of orange bitters. Muddle in the glass until the sugar has broken down to fine grains.
2. Add 2 ounces of a rye whiskey.
3. Stir without ice, then add your ice and stir again until glass is frosty, usually 20-30 seconds.
4. Cut the peel of both an orange and a lemon and squeeze them over the top of your cocktail. This releases the oils into your drink without overdoing it.
5. Garnish with orange peel.