The Old Fashioned is not so much a single cocktail as a style of cocktail. Originally, cocktail meant the drink consisted of a spirit, bitters, sugar and water. When new drinks were created with things like vermouth and absinthe, one who wanted the original style would order an “old fashioned cocktail.” While we think of it as a whiskey drink, it can really be made with any spirit. You actually could make a vodka old fashioned, but it would be rather bland and we probably wouldn’t be friends anymore.
In autumn, I like to add the seasonal flavor of apples. Cider is delicious, but there’s no place for juice in a old fashioned. No, you have to keep things boozy with applejack. Applejack was first made by William Laird in New Jersey in 1698. George Washington liked it so much he asked Robert Laird for the recipe in 1760. Laird & Company received distillery License No. 1 from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 1780.
For this old fashioned we split the spirit duties between bourbon and applejack. The bitters will be aromatic, the sugar is honey, and the water is always ice.
Fall Fashion Issue
- 1 oz bourbon
- 1 oz applejack
- 1/4 oz honey syrup*
- 3 dashes aromatic bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
*To make honey syrup mix equal parts of honey and hot water.
For the bourbon I recommend something in the 100-proof range. You will use Laird’s applejack, because that is all there is. Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters work well here with their strong cinnamon notes, but Angostura will do you fine as well.
Applejack is a blend of apple brandy and neutral spirits which make this drink an easy sipper. If you’re looking for an additional kick, seek out Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy. It’s definitely got more burn, but also more apple flavor.