- 2 fluid ounces of bourbon or rye¹
- 1 teaspoon of demerara gum syrup or 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of demerara sugar
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
If using sugar rather than syrup, muddle with the bitters and a splash of water, until dissolved. Stir all of the ingredients with ice and strain into a lowball glass with a single large cube or sphere of ice. May be mixed in the serving glass with the serving ice, for a less diluted drink. Garnish with an orange peel.
Sam Horwitz style
I prefer my Old Fashioneds “neat”. Follow the same recipe as above, but exclude the ice. Mix the ingredients dry and serve dry, like neat whiskey. May be mixed in the serving glass. Express and discard the orange peel, rather than garnish with it.
The “improved cocktail” is very open-ended in nature. It takes the above, and modifies it with various liqueurs, spirits, and bitters, traditionally ones that would have been popular in the late 19ᵗʰ century. Try adding any or all of the following: ⅛ teaspoon (1 dash) of absinthe, 1–1½ teaspoons of orange curaçao, or 1–1½ teaspoons of maraschino liqueur. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients as well, in the same vein.
The mid-century Old Fashioned is infamous for including muddled neon cherries and orange slices, as well as topping the drink off with soda water. A better choice for a cherry-and-orange-flavored Old Fashioned would be to take cues from the “improved cocktail” formula. Add ¼ fluid ounce (1½ teaspoons) each of both maraschino liqueur and orange curaçao, and 1 dash of orange bitters. In addition to the orange peel, garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Replace the whiskey with rhum agricole. Instead of bitters, cut a “coin” of peel from a lime and express into the lowball glass, dropping the lime coin in after. Add the syrup (sugar would be too hard to dissolve) and rhum, stir without ice (unless you really want to use a single large cube or sphere) and serve.
I tend to feel that bourbon is for Old Fashioneds, rye is for Sazeracs, but you can use either.