REAL OLD FASHIONED
Note: Here is a simple, honest Old Fashioned, dating back to the 1880s, just the spirit with sugar and bitters, no orange, cherry or muddling. The theory is that muddling became popular during Prohibition to cover up poor-quality liquor. To make simple syrup: Put equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan set over low heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in a covered container.
• 1/2 oz. (1 tbsp.) simple syrup (see Note)
• 2 oz. (1/4 c.) bourbon or rye
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 1 thin slice of orange peel
Measure the simple syrup into the bottom of an old-fashioned or low-ball glass. Add the bourbon or rye and bitters. Add just enough ice to cover the liquid.
Twist the orange peel over the glass, then stir the drink with the peel and garnish with the peel or discard.
Note: This drink is a straightforward cocktail of bourbon, simple syrup and mint over crushed ice; the trick is to get the balance just right. For more mint flavor, muddle 2 mint leaves with the simple syrup in the cup before adding the remaining ingredients. To make simple syrup: Put equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan set over low heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Cool and store in a covered container.
• 1 oz. (2 tbsp.) simple syrup (see Note)
• 2 oz. (1/4 c.) bourbon (use a good-quality one)
• Fresh mint sprig (see Note)
To a highball glass or silver julep cup, add the simple syrup, 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon and a splash of water. Add enough of the remaining ice to nearly fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with the mint sprig.