Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 17, 2014
The Old-Fashioned — that simple concoction of whiskey, bitters and sugar — is such an iconic cocktail that it’s now got a whole book about its lore and history. New York Times drinks writer Robert Simonson has penned “The Old-Fashioned” in the midst of the drink’s resurgence and return to its elemental state. (Not too long ago, the Old-Fashioned was a soggy mess of additional ingredients such as fruit, absinthe and soda.)
Even as bartenders celebrate its simplicity, they also experiment with ingredients that can be swapped into it, such as gin instead of the traditional bourbon or rye. One such alternative, as “The Old-Fashioned” explains (it’s equal parts history lesson and recipe book), is the Oaxacan Old-Fashioned with mezcal and tequila. It’s “the most renowned of the twenty-first-century variations,” Simonson writes. It’ll be a little smokier, too.
(“The Old-Fashioned” was one of the books I recommended for some boozy summer reading a couple weeks ago.)
1 1/2 oz. El Tesoro reposado tequila
1/2 oz. Del Maguey single village mezcal
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 barspoon agave nectar
Combine all the ingredients except the orange twist in an Old-Fashioned glass filled with one large ice cube. Stir until chilled.
To top with a flamed orange twist, hold a piece of orange peel about the size of a silver dollar, skin side down, over the drink. Light a match and use it to warm the skin side of the peel. Holding the match a few inches above the drink, quickly squeeze the peel in the direction of the match. The oil from the peel will briefly erupt into flame, showering its essence over the drink’s surface.
— Phil Ward of Manhattan’s Death & Co., as adapted by Robert Simonson’s “Old-Fashioned” (Ten Speed Press, $18.99)