If you love the original Old Fashioned, you should definitely try this summery peach and mint variation!
Josh turned 40. It happens. We tried not to make too big a deal of this as not to send him into a spiral of depression, but we couldn’t resist the excuse to throw a big party. We served this great variation on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail (emphasis on the OLD. Get it?).
Talk Bitters To Me
The Old Fashioned is thought to be one of the oldest classic cocktails. The formula, if you will, for classic cocktail ingredients is spirit, sugar, water, bitters. When making this Old Fashioned cocktail–or any cocktail for that matter–don’t skimp on the bitters. Bitters can seem pretty expensive when you’re staring down a little $20 bottle in your local bottle shop, but a small bottle of bitters lasts most drinking mortals a long time. So feel free to splurge a little. The Angostura bitters you find in this cocktail are easily the most common type of bitters and are extremely versatile and are found in many popular cocktails. For the orange bitters, we recommend Reagan’s No. 6. The orange flavor in Reagan’s is great and lacks some of the more candy profile you get in Fee Brothers, which are also very nice and quite easy to find.
Peach Simple Syrup
A perfectly ripe peach is such a prize. I don’t know what peaches look like in your area right now, but ours are starting to look amazing! When making this syrup keep your eye out for those perfectly ripe peaches or remember you can throw them in a paper bag on the counter for a few days if they are still too hard. Just make sure that if it’s not quite peach season in your neighborhood you buy peaches in advance so you have time to let them continue to ripen before using them in your cocktails or other recipes.
Also, since we were making this for a party I made 5 times the amount of syrup as in the recipe. I used a large saucepan and made it all at once. Each batch of syrup makes about 8 drinks, so just multiple that times the number of these summery drinks you think you’ll be craving when you’re deciding how much syrup to make. The amount we made was pretty perfect. We only had a little bit left over at the end of the night. Obviously a sign that our friends know a good drink when they see one.
Rye vs. Bourbon
We’ve heard of some people using bourbon for an Old Fashioned, and you certainly can go that route if you want. If you haven’t tried Rye, though, you really should give it a shot. (Shot. See what I did there?) Rye tends to be a bit sharper and stronger tasting than bourbon with perhaps a bit more spice flavor to it, and this profile really makes it hold up well in cocktails like the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned where you’re adding sweet elements. Most varieties of bourbon are more delicate on the palate than rye and are therefore easier to drink neat, but bourbon can get lost in some cocktails. Also, to be honest, I think you start to get to where you need that rye kick after you’ve been playing the cocktail game for a while and are looking for a little excitement.
On the other hand, if you don’t typically drink bourbon or rye, we think you can still seriously enjoy this cocktail. We had quite a few of our friends who swear they can’t handle rye drinks because they are too strong – but they found this drink way more balanced than so many of the other rye drinks they had tried in the past. I also added a splash of club soda to anyone’s drink who was hesitant about the cocktail. The club soda added just enough to balance the drink and take that rye edge off.
So give this refreshed classic Old Fashioned cocktail a try, and let us know about any other variations you like!
- 1.5 oz rye
- 1 oz peach simple syrup [*see recipe below*]
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- club soda, optional
- 1 sprig mint
- peach simple syrup
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 ripe peach, pitted, peeled and quartered
- First make the peach simple syrup by combining the sugar, water and peach in a small saucepan. Muddle the peach into the sugar water and heat on medium until the syrup begins to simmer. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow to cool. Store syrup in refrigerator until ready to use.
- To make the cocktail, combine the rye, chilled peach syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Stir ingredients well and then strain into a rocks glass and add ice. Top off with a splash of club soda if you please. Garnish with a mint sprig.