Who knew a single, straight-forward, classic cocktail recipe could vary so widely on one of the most basic details? For the old fashioned, there is the bar way, and the home connoisseur method. The first cocktail came from the very precise Death & Co. cocktail bible, which specifies an exact ratio of bitters to use (2 Angostura an 1 Bitter Truth) and uses sugar syrup. The mid-80s edition of Harvey Collins (New Shots!) says a bar teaspoon of superfine sugar and to top with club soda. Esquire wants you to soak a sugar cube with the bitters an a bit of club soda, then muddle the sugar on the bottom of a rocks glass. The Guardian wants you to use demerara sugar syrup, and muddle the fruit garnish in it, but what do the Brits know about anything but gin? So, do whatever is easiest for you.
- 2 ounces bourbon, rye, or whiskey
- 1 tsp sugar syrup (bar method)
- 1 sugar cube (connoisseur method)
- 3 dashes bitters
- club soda if desired
Bar method: Stir spirits, syrup and bitters over ice until well-chilled and pour into a rocks glass with ice. Optionally top with club soda.
Connoisseur method: Soak sugar cube with bitters, drop in a rocks glass with ice, top with bourbon, stir.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry or orange slice, or both, or an orange twist.