The Classic Old-Fashioned

The preferred Rye of Baltimore, MD

The preferred Rye of Baltimore, MD

Holy shit, that’s delicious!

I said out-loud to absolutely no one when I had the first sip of this Classic Old-Fashioned.

Here’s the skinny:

  • 1 rough-cut brown sugar cube***
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 thickly cut orange zest twist, using paring knife, not peeler
  • hand-cut ice cubes***

Place sugar cube in old-fashioned glass. Wet the cube with the aromatic bitters. Singe the orange zest twist by holding it firmly behind a lit match and pinching it to release its natural citrus oils. be careful to spritz the citrus oils into the glass. Place the orange zest twist into the glass; using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, press it gently against the sugar cube. Then add the rye whiskey and stir gently. Add a couple large hand-cut ice cubes to the glass; stir gently again. Garnish with another orange zest twist, and seve. It’s restrained, potable elegance in a glass.


The recipe is from Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks Using the World’s Most Popular Spirit by Warren Bobrow. I won a copy from the Mad Men Virtual Dinner Party last month (it was one of the prizes for the Ted Chaugh/Joan Harris Bold & Creative Award, natch). It’s a pretty swell book and it definitely offers a lot of contemporary craft drinks in it; but I’m more of a purist when it comes to my cocktails, so I went with an old standby, albeit with a twist.

Literally. A twist. The, thick, lit-on-a-match twist is what made this drink! I was so shocked by how orangey (that’s a word now) the drink was since I didn’t muddle any actual slices of fruit in it. The orange bitters probably helped as well.


The glass says: “Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never returns to its original dimension. -Jim”

I stirred it with a beautiful WMF drink spoon, which was also a prize from the Mad Men party.

I love winning things, don’t you?

And now I am going to make another delicious Old-Fashioned.

Because I can. Don Draper would.

***Note: no one will be surprised to know that I didn’t have brown sugar cubes on hand. Nor any hand-cut ice cubes.
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6 Responses to The Classic Old-Fashioned

  1. My new motto “Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never returns to its original dimension” – love it! Also love the sound of this cocktail. Gonna get me some orange bitters…

  2. Really great orange bitters come from a variety of sources. Fee Brothers, Gary Regan’s famous #6, Orange Sunshine from AZ Bitters Lab, Angostura makes a good one too.

  3. Carole says:

    Hand….cut….ice….cubes??? W T F!?

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