What is in a Bourbon Old Fashioned : A Clear and Neutral Guide

What is in a Bourbon Old Fashioned : A Clear and Neutral Guide

If you're a fan of classic cocktails, you've probably heard of the Old Fashioned. This iconic drink has been around since the 1800s and is a staple in many bars and restaurants. But have you ever wondered what's in an Old Fashioned Bourbon? In this article, we'll dive into the ingredients that make up this timeless drink.

First and foremost, an Old Fashioned Bourbon is made with bourbon whiskey. This type of whiskey is made from at least 51% corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels. The aging process gives the bourbon its distinct flavor and color, which is an important component of the Old Fashioned.

In addition to bourbon, an Old Fashioned also includes sugar, bitters, and a citrus twist. The sugar is typically a cube or a spoonful of simple syrup, which is dissolved in water. Bitters are a concentrated flavoring made from herbs and spices, and they add a complex, slightly bitter flavor to the drink. Finally, the citrus twist is a small strip of orange or lemon peel that is twisted over the drink to release its oils. All of these ingredients are combined and served over ice, creating a balanced and flavorful cocktail that has stood the test of time.

Old Fashioned Bourbon Composition

Core Ingredients

Old Fashioned Bourbon is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for over a century. The core ingredients of this cocktail are bourbon, bitters, sweetening agent, and water. Bourbon is the most important ingredient in this cocktail. It is a type of whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn and aged in charred oak barrels.

Bourbon Characteristics

Bourbon has a unique flavor profile that includes vanilla, caramel, and oak. The flavor of bourbon is influenced by the aging process and the type of barrel used. The longer the bourbon is aged, the smoother and richer its flavor becomes. The oak barrels used for aging also impart a distinct flavor to the bourbon.

Sweetening Agent

The sweetening agent used in an Old Fashioned Bourbon is usually sugar or simple syrup. The amount of sweetening agent used can be adjusted to taste. Some people prefer a sweeter cocktail, while others prefer a more bitter taste.

Bitters Type

Bitters are an important ingredient in an Old Fashioned Bourbon. They add a bitter and aromatic flavor to the cocktail. Angostura bitters are the most commonly used bitters in this cocktail. However, other types of bitters can also be used, such as orange bitters or Peychaud's bitters.

In summary, an Old Fashioned Bourbon is a classic cocktail that is made with bourbon, bitters, sweetening agent, and water. The unique flavor profile of bourbon, along with the addition of bitters and sweetening agent, makes this cocktail a popular choice for whiskey lovers.

Preparation and Presentation

Mixing Technique

The key to a perfect Old Fashioned bourbon is the mixing technique. Start by placing a sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass and saturating it with 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Muddle the sugar and bitters until the sugar is dissolved. Then, add a large ice cube and pour in 2 oz of your preferred bourbon. Stir the mixture gently for about 30 seconds to chill and dilute the drink.

Garnishing Details

Garnishing is an essential part of the Old Fashioned bourbon presentation. You can use a citrus twist or a cherry as a garnish. To prepare a citrus twist, use a vegetable peeler to remove a strip of peel from an orange or lemon. Twist the peel over the drink to release the oils and then rub the peel around the rim of the glass. Alternatively, you can use a cherry as a garnish. Choose a high-quality maraschino cherry and place it on a skewer.

Serving Glass

The Old Fashioned bourbon should be served in an Old Fashioned glass. This glass is short and wide with a thick base, which makes it perfect for muddling ingredients and adding ice. The glass should be filled with a large ice cube or with ice chips. The large ice cube will melt slowly and dilute the drink less quickly, which will keep the flavors of the bourbon intact for longer.

Overall, the preparation and presentation of an Old Fashioned bourbon is simple yet important. The mixing technique, garnishing details, and serving glass all play a crucial role in creating a perfect drinking experience.

Bourbon Old Fashioned: A Classic Cocktail Recipe

If you're a fan of whiskey, chances are you've had an Old Fashioned at some point. This classic cocktail is known around the world for its simplicity and versatility. Essentially just bourbon, sugar, and bitters, the Old Fashioned has a rich history that dates back to the late 1700s.

Originally known as the Whiskey Cocktail, this drink was a popular way to add a bit of flavor to a glass of whiskey. Over time, variations on the recipe emerged, with bartenders experimenting with different ingredients and techniques. Today, the Old Fashioned is a staple of any cocktail menu, and there are countless ways to make it your own.

Why the Old Fashioned Cocktail Works

The Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic drink that has stood the test of time. Its success lies in the simplicity of its three-part template: spirit, sugar, and bitters. The balance of these three elements is crucial to creating a perfect Old Fashioned.

The sugar in the cocktail serves to soften the whiskey and create a more viscous mouthfeel. It also allows the subtler elements of the whiskey to shine through. The bitters, on the other hand, temper the sweetness of the sugar and add depth of flavor to the drink. This helps to prevent the cocktail from becoming too sweet.

When these three elements are in harmony, they accentuate each other's aspects without overpowering one another. The result is a cocktail that doesn't taste too sweet, too bitter, or overly dominated by the whiskey. A properly made Old Fashioned should allow each of these qualities to come through without any one dominating the others.

Overall, the Old Fashioned cocktail works so well because of the balance and harmony between its three key ingredients. When made correctly, it is a drink that is both simple and complex, with a depth of flavor that is hard to replicate in other cocktails.

The Best Type of Whiskey for an Old Fashioned

When it comes to making an Old Fashioned, the type of whiskey you choose can have a significant impact on the flavor profile of the cocktail. While bourbon is the most commonly used whiskey for an Old Fashioned, there are other options that can work equally well, depending on your personal preference.

Popular Old Fashioned Variations

If you're looking to switch up your Old Fashioned game, there are plenty of variations to try that stay true to the original recipe. Here are some popular options to consider:

Benton's Old Fashioned: This variation infuses country ham into bourbon, adding a savory, smoky flavor to the cocktail. Maple syrup and bitters round out the drink's flavor profile.

Brown Butter Old Fashioned: A New Orleans twist on the classic, this variation uses brown sugar and a bourbon washed with brown butter to create a nutty, Southern-inspired flavor.

Brandy Old Fashioned (a.k.a. Wisconsin Old Fashioned): A popular take in Wisconsin, this variation uses brandy instead of whiskey and muddled fruit to mask the taste of low-quality spirits.

C&B Old Fashioned: This gin-based variation uses Campari and Benedictine to balance the bitter, sweet, and spirited elements of the drink.

Irish Old Fashioned: This variation uses Irish whiskey and Benedictine instead of granulated sugar, creating a unique flavor profile.

Oaxaca Old Fashioned: A popular choice for mezcal lovers, this variation uses mezcal instead of whiskey and incorporates agave nectar and mole bitters for a smoky, spicy flavor.

Rum Old Fashioned: This variation uses dark rum as its base and adds allspice dram and demerara syrup for added depth of flavor.

While these variations may differ in their ingredients, they all follow the basic Old Fashioned template of spirit, sweet, and bitter flavors. So, whether you prefer bourbon, rye, scotch, or even mezcal, there's a variation out there that's sure to suit your taste.

Featured image courtesy of Total Wine