What’s your evening drink of choice? This winter, two ounces of rye whiskey with a splash of ginger ale and a splash of bitters kept me warm and toasty. It’s fairly close to a classic old fashioned, but not quite the recipe you’re going to read about today. The old fashioned seems to be having a revival these days with cocktail culture, and you don’t need to go far to find a bartender playing with the classic recipe with flavours like apple and chai.
I was chatting with my mom about my plans to do this recipe, and she mentioned the kind of old fashioned cocktails my Poppa used to make for my Nana. Strangely enough, his old fashioneds were built with rye whiskey, a splash of ginger ale, and a splash of bitters.
When I heard about my late grandfather’s signature creation, I was overwhelmed with a moment of connection. I’m sure this is a relatively common way to make an old fashioned, but since I happened upon this particular combination before I heard of his method, I couldn’t help but smile.
My Poppa passed away when I was in grade three, and I think about him often. I get the sense that we would get along really well if he were around today. My Nana once told me that my playful, sarcastic personality reminded her of my Poppa.
I was a little scared of him as a kid, not quite understanding his humour. I will never forget the look on his face when I dared sit in his special chair. The same look from my own dad makes me giggle nowadays, but as a kid I didn’t get the whole “my chair” thing and was aching to please.
I get the sense that my Poppa was as much a fan of a certain swear word as I am, and I imagine the two of us would be joyful drinking buddies if he were still around, his barbs constantly one-upping mine. I think he would be proud of the whiskey drinking, cake making, shit disturber I turned out to be.
This particular recipe for a classic old fashioned uses a simple syrup instead of ginger ale. It’s a very approachable drink if you’re not well-versed in whiskey (I’m not) as the simple syrup and bitters take away the sharp punch of the alcohol. It’s still quite strong, though, and if you haven’t tried a whiskey drink like this before, I suggest going ahead and adding a splash of ginger ale. It’s been taste-tested generationally. Enjoy
5.0 from 4 reviews Print MDB Cocktails: A Classic Old Fashioned Author: Palette Dining Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 5 mins Total time: 10 mins Yield: one glass Ingredients Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 oz Canadian/rye whiskey
- dash of Angostura bitters (or, make your own)
- ½ TB simple syrup
- orange peel
- To make the simple syrup, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let the syrup boil for about 1 minute, then take the saucepan off the heat and let the syrup cool completely before using. You can pour the syrup into a jar and then place it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.
- To make the old fashioned, add the whiskey, bitters, and simple syrup to a rocks glass. Stir. Add a couple ice cubes, and stir again. Carve a piece of orange peel over the glass to release the aromas, and place the peel inside the glass. Serve.