Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Old-Fashioned

Last week, a friend requested I write a little something about whiskey and explain why it makes the world "slow down" every time she drinks it. I asked her to explain this "slowing down", and she said something about Makers Mark bourbon and confusion that... well... utterly confused me.

She may've just been drunk. But I'll admit: Bourbon has an effect on people. In her case, it throws her off her game.

In my case, bourbon's a muse of sorts. One or two bourbon drinks (by bourbon drinks, I mean bourbon on the rocks or neat, Manhattans, and Old-Fashioned cocktails, not half and half drinks) and I'm running through work with a little warmth in my belly and a touch of inspiration. Any more than that, however, and I'm just on my way to getting drunk and writing nonsense.

Well, enough about that. On to bourbon.

Bourbon is whiskey specific to Kentucky. Distillers outside of Kentucky can distill whiskey, but they can't call it bourbon. For example, Jack Daniels is much like Evan Williams. Both are "sour mash" whiskeys, meaning they reuse mash from previous distillation (more on distillation later). However, though both use similar methods, only the Kentucky-based Evan Williams can call itself "bourbon" (Jack Daniels calls itself "Tennessee whiskey").

Bourbon "mash" must contain at least 51% corn as its base. This use of corn lends bourbon its sweetness.

After distillation, bourbon is clear. It gains its color while aging in barrels (or through coloring agents added by some distillers).

Alright. On to an (easy) bourbon drink recipe.

The Old-Fashioned


An old-fashioned (or rocks) glass
A small shaker (the shaker should fit over the glass. A spoon works, too)
An orange slice
A maraschino cherry
One sugar cube (or packet, or spoonful)
Angostura bitters
Decent bourbon (Makers Mark is good)
Muddler (spoon works here, too)


Drop the orange and cherry into the glass. Add the sugar and a couple dashes of bitters. Now, muddle these ingredients with the muddler. If you don't have a muddler, use the back of a spoon. (Muddling = Crushing/Mixing)

Once properly muddled, add the ice. Fill to the top of the glass. Now pour 2 1/2 to 3 ounces bourbon into the glass. Shake, or stir, and you're good.

The Old-Fashioned. With AMC's Mad Men starting season 3 next week, I thought this was the perfect recipe for suits.

Or bald, goateed, t-shirt-wearing writers.

Either way, nothing says classy, worldly, experienced quite like the Old-Fashioned.


  1. i love me some bourbon. that is the one liquor that KICKS my ASS. and i lvoe it!
    i def. think bourbon tastes different from other wiskeys though. thanks for teaching me about why bourbon is called bourbon though, because i never ever knew that!

  2. I was not drunk..maybe I was but the world was not going so well!!!

    It's so delicious!! I have no that could be it. ;)

    thanks craig!! I will continue to drink whiskey/bourbon/delicious distilled beverages!

  3. Oh update...had the drink again with the same results...this time..a bit more..umm..amusing. I think the bartender liked was all Maker's and a splash of ginger ale.