An Old Fashioned should be made with Rye, not Bourbon. But you try getting one when you’re out and about, it’s nye on impossible. Rye is softer and more refined, bourbon is made from corn, it’s in your face and brash… and, in most cases it’s fucking awful, especially Jack Daniels.
What’s more, the average bar tender hasn’t a fucking clue about chemistry. Sugar won’t dissolve in alcohol, which is why an Old Fashioned has a splash of soda. The finished article should be sweet, with a hint of orange and a big old kick of whisky.
Ogden Nash felt so strongly he wrote a poem, one of my favourites, this is one verse.
My recipe, and there’s photos on the cocktail page, is…
Add one teaspoon of agave syrup in the bottom of a tumbler, and add a splash of soda. Dissolve the sugar and add a couple of drops of orange bitters. Add a good glug of a decent Rye whisky. Add ice and a slice of orange and give it a stir. Top up with Rye and add a cherry.