The Old Fashioned Cocktail
How To Make It An End of Summer Sipper

The last days of summer, the perfect time to take some time to unwind before the fall begins. What could be more relaxing than sipping a cool cocktail while kicking-back with friends and family? It’s a quintessential end of summer pastime.  While you may not think of the Old Fashioned Cocktail as a typical summertime drink, by making a few easy adjustments it will transform into a thirst-quenching end of summer refresher.

In the first article of our Creative Cocktails Series, we will discuss what makes a great summer cocktail. Then, we will give you the recipe on how to make the traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail into the perfect summer drink.

The Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail

Cocktail trends come and go but, the Old Fashioned Cocktail has been a classic since the 1880s.  Whether, in a high-end restaurant or dive bar, there is no mystery as to what you expect to receive. The Old Fashioned Cocktail is so renowned that it is included in the  International Bartenders Association (IBA) World Cocktail Competition. 

While there are variations of execution from place to place, the basics remain the same:  Sugar, Bitters, Water and the Spirit(usually a whiskey) are the staples of making this drink along with a garnish of citrus(orange is most popular) and a cherry. 

Before the 1880s, most cocktails were a mix of spirits with sugar and bitters. This was more of style and less of a recipe. As times began to change and people began experimenting with new ingredients in their drinks, the press dubbed the mix of whiskey, sugar, and bitters “The Old Fashioned” referencing those that ordered and enjoyed their cocktail “the old-fashioned way”. The basic recipe for the classic is listed below.

What Makes a Great End of Summer Cocktail

Most people are loyal to their favorite cocktail no matter what time of year it is.  But, during the warmer months, it can be more difficult to enjoy a drink that is not light and refreshing.  A great way to fix this and still enjoy your favorite is to craft your drink with ingredients that will complement the traditional flavor while lightening the end result.  There are many types of ingredients that will get the job done.

Best Classic Old Fashioned Recipe

Here you will find the basic classic recipe for making an Old Fashioned Cocktail.

Old Fashioned Cocktail Ingredients and Preparation Procedure

  • Sugar: 1 cube(most traditional)or ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of simple syrup
  • Angostura Bitters: 3 dashes
  • Water: 1 tablespoon (use only ½ teaspoon if using Spirit: 2 oz Whiskey(Bourbon and Scotch are most popular)
  • Garnish: Orange Peel and Cherry

In a Rocks Glass(also known as an old fashioned glass) place the sugar and bitters and muddle together.   

Add the water and continue mixing until the sugar is dissolved.  If using simple syrup, assure all the ingredients are combined thoroughly.  Fill the glass with large ice cubes. 

Pour in your preferred Spirit(Bourbon is a favorite). Stir gently until all the ingredients are combined.  

Fold and rub the orange peel around the rim of the glass expressing the oil, then drop it into the drink.  Finish with dropping in a maraschino cherry.

6 Ways to Turn The Classic Into an End of Summer Sipper

A few simple tweaks to the recipe will take this classic cocktail and turn it into a refreshing last days of summer favorite. Below are 6 suggested variations:

  1. Add Sparkle: Top-off your cocktail with a splash of club soda to add a bit of fizz
  2. Berry Good:When preparing the sugar and bitters, muddle in 3 to 4 blackberries
  3. So Peachy: When adding the ice to the glass, include several chunks of fresh peaches
  4. Fresh: Muddle a few leaves of mint with your sugar and bitters and garnish with a fresh mint leaf
  5. Enhance the Cherry: You can buy Marciano Cherries that have been soaked in various flavored liquors or it’s easy to take your favorite spirit and marinate your own. Use these cherries as your cocktail garnish to add extra flavor and kick to your drink.
  6. Upgrade the Sweet:Another way to add layers of taste to your cocktail is to use sugar or simple syrup that has been enhanced with flavors. These can be purchased in many gourmet food stores or online. If you have the time, you can make your own by infusing flavors such as citrus, coffee, lavender, or herbs as the options are endless. Recipes for these simple syrups can be found on thousands of sites online.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a few ideas on ways to make a classic Old Fashioned and turn it into your own favorite end of summer drink. Of course, we haven’t listed all the possible options. There is no wrong way to craft this cocktail so don’t be afraid to experiment and try different fruits, herbs, spirits, and flavors. Let your imagination and creativity soar.

For other ideas on cocktails that you can craft, take a look at our article onThe 22 Best Classic Cocktails you have to try.

Did we forget a great idea to make a classic cocktail a great end of summer sipper?  Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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