A few years ago, my sister introduced me to the venerable bourbon Old Fashioned and it’s been my cocktail of choice ever since. And up until today, I thought that I made a pretty darn good one, using a standard formula of spirits + bitters + sugar**. Then I came across a recent blog post on Jamie Boudreau’s spiritsandcocktails.com and my whole world changed.
To add even more flavor to the Old Fashioned, Jamie omits water from the recipe all together by sweetening the drink with a simple syrup made from spirits, bitters, raw sugar, and whole spices like clove and star anise (instead of a simple syrup made from refined white sugar and water). Wow! The flavor and complexity that this Old Fashioned syrup adds to the drink is unreal. Thank you, Jamie. You’ve just replaced my sister as my new cocktail guru. Cheers!
**A classic recipe for an Old Fashioned can run something like this: Put about 1/4 oz. of simple syrup into a mixing glass. Add 2 good dashes of bitters (regular, or orange, if you like) and a big piece of orange peel. Gently muddle the orange peel to release its oils (not to crush the heck out of it). Add 2 oz. (or more, to taste) of your favorite Old Fashioned spirit (I like bourbon, but whiskey or rye are also common) and ice. Stir until well chilled, then strain into a chilled double Old Fashioned glass (with or without fresh ice; it’s your call.). Drink. Repeat.