What makes the best Old Fashioned?
Whilst enjoying Old Fashioned Week 2018 here at Rumcompass HQ we decided to experiment a little. The Old Fashioned, a prohibition era cocktail, originally consisted of Whiskey, Angostura bitters, a sugar cube and a twist of Lemon.
It is a cocktail that when made properly takes time but it is well worth the wait. Today, many creative takes on the Old Fashioned exist, indeed some bars present an extensive build your own Old Fashioned menu. This allows you to select your spirit, bitters and sweetener of choice. Earlier this year at the Cardiff Rum Festival we had a conversation with Chris Seale from Speciality Brands about what combination makes the best Old Fashioned. With this in mind we thought we would try to find out. We did consider experimenting by just changing the base spirit and keeping everything else the same but then we decided life is too short and so here are our findings (and recipes for some different Old Fashioneds). For each one I used 1 sugar cube and 4 dashes of bitters and stirred with my awesome Monkey bar spoon!
Tequila-Centenario Gran Anejo with Latin Lime bitters.
Unmistakable Tequila on the nose, the first sip is almost too sweet but the lime bitters and Tequila combine to make it more rounded. Not a bad start!
Bourbon-Jim Beam with Bourbon orange bitters
Orange on the nose, the first sip releases a nice warmth and it has an almost smokey finish. Better than the Tequila!
Whisky-Singleton ‘Sunray’ of Dufftown with Smokey Pear bitters
Mellow Whisky on the nose, smokey but then sweet with a long finish. This is not as good as the Bourbon but is better than the Tequila.
Cognac-Hine Antique Grande Champagne XO Premier Cru
Hint of orange on the nose but the first sip reveals the chocolate which lingers in the finish. My favourite so far!
Gin-Burleighs Distillers Cut with Celery Bitters
Light fresh citrus/Juniper nose. Sweet and then the obvious ‘Martini’ finish. Nice, but not Old Fashioned enough.
Rum-Real McCoy 12 with Aromatic Bitters
Orange and happy familiar smell of ‘Rum’ on the nose. No surprise, a balanced drink which is not over sweet. The aromatic bitters enhances it.
Final verdict: Rum, Cognac, Bourbon, Whisky, Tequila then Gin.
Although I expected the outcome (and it is true I maybe a little biased) it was nice to experiment. The Cognac came a very close second and the surprise was the Tequila which I would like to play around with a little more, I suspect altering the bitters will be key. A Rummy at heart but more important an Old Fashioned fan #ofw18 #oldfashionedweek #oldfashionedweek18
Got to be Hine!