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