Añejo Old Fashioned

August 8th, 2008  |  Published in recipes, tequila  |  4 Comments

Despite its name, there really isn’t much that is “old fashioned” about the Old Fashioned you will be served at most bars today. To paraphrase the eminently quotable Magoo, it’s more like a fruit salad than a drink. A rocks glass filled to the brim with bright red cocktail cherries, slices of orange, occasionally even chunks of pineapple, macerating in a bourbon marinade. Yuck.

Needless to say the real thing is a much simpler affair of whiskey, orange peel, sugar, bitters and ice; as with most simple things, such a timeless combination adapts well in translation. This is a drink I’ve been meaning to make for, oh, months, as Chuck sings its praises voluminously nearly every time we drink together. I didn’t get around to it because, as is my modus operandi, I had so many bottles to buy before I could even think about picking up some añejo. This amateur enthusiast business is expensive work.

Fortunately I have a kind and generous family who gifted me with a tidy little sum of birthday money, all of which went to buy some very, very nice bottles of booze, among them the earthy, robust goodness of 4 Copas organic añejo tequila. (Thanks mom! I promise to share!)

3 oz añejo tequila (4 Copas)
1 tsp agave nectar
2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Combine ingredients in a double rocks glass with (big) ice, and stir for 30 seconds or so. Garnish with a long strip of grapefruit peel.

If you think about all of the things that you like about a traditional whiskey Old Fashioned, this has them all—it maintains the flavor of the original liquor while enhancing it subtly with aromas of citrus and spice from the bitters and just a little bit of sweetness. I can’t stress enough the aromatic importance of the grapefruit peel. It brings together the earthier qualities of the tequila and gives them a lovely floral hint. These are definitely potent little numbers, but is there anything so nice as sipping a drink slowly on a hot evening, enjoying how it evolves as the ice melts and watching the sky go dark?

I didn’t think so.

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Responses

  1. Jay Hepburn says:

    August 9th, 2008at 3:07 am(#)

    Marleigh, if you’ve got them the Fee Grapefruit bitters work really nicely in a Tequila Old Fashioned. I’ve not tried it with Peychaud’s, but will definitely be giving it a go soon.

  2. Marleigh says:

    August 12th, 2008at 9:37 am(#)

    Jay,

    We’re big Peychaud’s fans in our house (if Dan’s drink isn’t pink, something is very wrong). Chuck also recommends the grapefruit bitters but I’m lazy and haven’t picked any up because I keep meaning to make some of my own. One of these days…

  3. Eric Angle says:

    November 5th, 2009at 1:16 pm(#)

    I’ve made bourbon, rum, brandy, and (blanco and reposado) tequila old fashioneds, and find the drink a good way to enjoy a spirit without either drinking it straight or adding too many other flavors. I typically muddle a lemon and/or orange peel in the glass to extract the oils a la Morgenthaler: http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Imbibe-Sips-Videos

    However, I only have Angostura aromatic bitters, and have been meaning to pick up some other varieties. Kegworks has an impressive collection ( http://www.kegworks.com/home.php?cat=936 ), and I was wondering which, besides orange and Peychaud’s, are essential in your experience.

  4. Marleigh says:

    November 5th, 2009at 3:24 pm(#)

    Eric,

    Ah yes, the bitters question! Kegworks does have a nice selection, but you should also check out Greg’s offerings at CocktailKingdom.com. To begin, you do need Angostura, Peychaud’s and orange. Myself, I find that I really only use Regan’s Orange No. 6 and Angostura Orange, though I occasionally dip into my Bitter Truth Orange bottle. Otherwise, I recommend getting a bottle of the Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Aged (no matter the vintage, all the ones I’ve had are good), Bitter Truth Celery (so good in savory cocktails, especially with gin!), Amargo Chuncho (for Pisco Sours) and a bottle of lemon, grapefruit and cherry bitters that you like (taste all the ones you can find and see what you like best). The Bitter Truth’s Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters are also good, and the Bittermen’s Xocolotl Mole…but herein you should be seeing the issue—once you get started with bitters, there really aren’t so much essentials as wants. Different bitters do different things and once you have orange, Ango and Peychaud’s the rest is just really fun, tasty gravy.


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