It’s Old-Fashioned Week: Here’s how to make this classic cocktail like a pro

Old-Fashioned Week is celebrated globally, this year from the October 30 until November 8.

This annual event is a 10-day cocktail celebration for discerning whisky drinkers who appreciate an authentic craft cocktail.

While Covid-19 may have put a dampener on the live celebrations there is no reason why you can’t pay tribute to the father of all cocktails in the comfort of your own home.

In previous years thousands of mixologists from different bars around the globe shelved their shakers for mixing spoons to create the classic cocktail with a twist.

If you’re not familiar with the old-fashion then here’s what you need to know, along with helpful tips and a delicious Woodford Reserve inspired cocktail recipe.

What is an Old-Fashioned?

A sophisticated blend of bourbon, bitters, water and sugar, the old-fashioned cocktail has roots that date back to the 1800s.

The name originates from the way it is made, with people heading to cocktail bars and requesting for their drink to be created the ‘old fashioned way’.

Traditionally ‘the old-fashioned way’ was to take a whisk(e)y glass and add a lump of sugar dissolving it with a small amount of water.

The bartender would then add two dashes of bitters, a lump of ice and a miniature bar spoon.

They would then hand it to the customer, along with a bottle of bourbon, and allow them to pour their own drink.

For many years bartenders around the globe have placed their own twists on the classic cocktail.

Here are tips from a pro to get you started. Elizabeth McCall, assistant master distiller at Woodford Reserve recommends the following:

1) Always use a nice, clear whiskey tumbler glass.

2) Use good quality ice that will keep the drink at the best temperature and last longer in the cocktail.

The larger the ice cube the better.

3) Choose the best quality spirit such as Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select – traditionally an Old-Fashioned is made with Whisk(e)y but bourbon offers a slightly sweeter flavour profile complimenting the drink and bringing out over 200 flavour notes.

4) Chill the mixing glass and if you’re making the drink for someone else, stir the drink in front of them for a bit of a show.

5) Importantly, don’t shake the cocktail – an Old-Fashioned should be stirred and not shaken.

An Old-Fashioned should be stirred and not shaken. Picture: Sideny Bensimon

How to create your own Old-Fashioned:

Celebrate the father of all cocktails with an Old-Fashioned to inspire your senses – try this rendition of the classic American bourbon cocktail with Woodford Reserve.

Ingredients

50ml Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select

1 tsp brown sugar

2 dashes bitters

Orange zest (for garnish)

Method

Add ingredients to a mixing glass.

Add ice to mixing glass and serving glass.

Stir ingredients for 30-40 seconds.

Strain into serving glass.

Garnish with a lightly expressed orange peel.