Any bourbon drinker will tell you that a solid whiskey drink is hard to pass up, but often, “less is more,” especially in the case of the Old Fashioned.
What is an Old Fashioned?
The Old Fashioned is a cocktail made by muddling sugar or simple syrup with bitters and water, adding whiskey (bourbon or rye) and garnishing with an orange slice, lemon zest or, optionally, a cocktail cherry. It is traditionally served with ice in a rocks glass and always stirred, not shaken. It’s simple, straightforward and a perfect balance of pure ingredients with simplistic construction.
“A spirit as the base, sugar to balance the heat of the liquor and buoy the overall flavor, bitters to engage more of our palate and provide complexity and finally water—in the form of ice—to chill and gently dilute.”
– Erin Petrey on bourbonbanter.com
How did the Old Fashioned get its name?
Some things are oldies but goodies. In an era where bartenders were getting a little too creative with mixers, flavors and fruits, drinkers wanted to return to the basics. (Just like fashion trends are cyclical, so are drink trends!) They desired a cocktail with more “traditional” methods and a little more punch! Hence, “give me something Old Fashioned” was coined, and the name stuck, replacing its original name: “whiskey cocktail” from the mid-1880s.
Louis’ House of Bourbon
Louis’ House of Bourbon at Chateau Elan is a perfect spot to try the original Old Fashioned and a myriad of five other variations, each with a unique twist. The ingredients remain simple, but the flavor profile alterations each dance differently on the palate. One take on the classic pays homage to “Ole Wilbur the Pig” with Peychaud’s and orange bitters, maple syrup, and bacon-infused Old Forester Bourbon. It’s only three ingredients, but with slightly more complex flavor profiles.
Louis’ has around 90 different bourbons on their menu, an extensive cocktail menu and wine selection (of course!), and southern gastro-pub snacks. The decor is an old-world, speak-easy vibe. European art surrounds moody earth tones, lounge vignettes and luxurious leather seating with bar games (shuffleboard and pool). It’s the perfect atmosphere to sit back and be a little “Old Fashioned” with your buddies.
CURIOUS ABOUT BITTERS?
Bitters are tinctures, meaning alcohol-infused flavorings. Vanilla extract is one kind of tincture where vanilla beans are soaked in alcohol to bring out the flavor. Bitters originated as a medicinal tincture by doctors and apothecaries to cure various ailments, especially digestive ones. The most famous bitters are Angostura (typically found in a dark bottle with a yellow cap and a sloppy-dressed oversized white label.)