I wanted an Old Fashioned but I didn't have any fresh oranges which are kind of an essential part of a classic Old Fashioned cocktail. According to the I.B.A., an Old Fashioned is basically a bitters soaked sugar cube muddled in the glass (with a bit of water to help dissolve the cube) then topped off with ice and whiskey and garnished with an orange and a cocktail cherry. Most of the time, when you order an Old Fashioned in a bar, they will muddle the orange slice and cherry with the sugar to release their juices into the cocktail. Though this is heresy to some, I happen to like this application of the muddled garnishes, it brings back fond memories.

But, again, no oranges. What I did have was an apple, fresh ginger and spices and I'm never shy when it comes to mixing things up, especially basic recipes like an Old Fashioned. There are tons of Old Fashioned recipes replacing the brandy or whiskey with rum, tequila and even vodka and moonshine. You can also replace the sugar with flavored liqueurs or simple syrups and even switch out the orange for another citrus.

Of course, by that time, you end up with a new cocktail, one that can no longer be called simply an "Old Fashioned". My thought is that if you only change out the spirit you add that spirit, as in "Rum" Old Fashioned (like a "Vodka" Martini). In my opinion, if you start messing with more ingredients an ingredient precise moniker is called for.

So, meet my:


2-1/2 Oz. Brandy
1/2 Fresh Apple (I used a Gravenstein), chopped fine
1 Tsp. Cardamom Ginger Simple Syrup (Recipe Below)
1/2 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
3 Dashes Orange Bitters

Garnish: Apple Cube, Homemade Maraschino Cherry, Orange Twist (if you have an orange ...)

Tools: Muddler, Cocktail Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer

Glass: Old Fashioned

Chill the glass in the freezer.
Muddle the apple pieces and lemon juice in the bottom of the cocktail shaker until the apple pieces release juices.
Fill the shaker with ice add the brandy, cardamom ginger simple syrup and bitters then shake until well chilled.
Strain into the chilled glass, garnish and serve.

Cardamom Ginger Simple Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Thinly Sliced Fresh Ginger
15 Cardamom Pods
1 Cup Turbinado (Raw) Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

Bring all the ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Immediately reduce the heat o low and and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Let it cool and allow it to steep for an hour or longer.
Strain and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Yes, Bailey was all over it.

Old Fashioned Week is November 2nd through November 11th.

Check out my other signature
Old Fashioned Recipes here.


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