Mix the classic elements of an Old-Fashioned—bitters and sugar cube—with a lovely Irish whiskey.
The Old-Fashioned is a cocktail that lives up to its name. In the early 1800s, cocktails were made from sugar, water, and bitters. That’s it. No Sour Puss that liven up the taste. No creamy liqueurs for a change of texture. Just sugar, water, and bitters. Of course, over time, this changed as more and more spirits were invented. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing depends on whom you ask. Some resented the newfangled inventions and, upon saddling up at a bar, would request a drink made “the old-fashioned way.” The term stuck, and now describes the combination of whiskey with that sugar cube and bitters.
It has seen a number of alterations and additions over the years, as all classics do. For today’s version, we’re making it “Irish” by replacing the bourbon usually associated with an Old-Fashioned with Irish whiskey. The change is a subtle one but I find it’s enough to re-invigorate the cocktail. Longtime drinkers of both the Old-Fashioned and Irish whiskey will appreciate the Irish Old-Fashioned as a whole new way to enjoy an all-time fave.
What is the Best Irish Whiskey To Use?
Irish whiskey has a smooth finish and notes of honey and vanilla, plus a slight fruitiness. There are numerous distillers out there, each with its distinct characteristics. Here are a few worth sampling:
Jameson Irish Whiskey: Smooth and light, Jameson is perhaps the most well-known Irish whiskey.
Redbreast 12-Year-Old: The 12-year-old of this single-pot whiskey is highly acclaimed and worth trying
Bushmills: Another very popular whiskey, Bushmills is blended and balanced. It is a nice entry point into the world of Irish whiskeys.
Connemara Peated Single Malt: Like an Islay scotch, this Irish whiskey has a smokiness to it that will certainly stand out.
- 2 oz. Irish whiskey
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 sugar cube
- orange twist (for garnish)
- splash water
- ice cubes
- In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the sugar cube and Angostura bitters with a splash of water.
- Fill the glass with ice cubes and add the Irish whiskey.
- Garnish with an orange twist and stir gently before serving.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Irish Old-Fashioned
- Skip that splash of water for a stronger drink.
- Give your orange twist a slight tear over your drink, then run it around the rim of your glass so it can be tasted with every sip.
- Use large, clear ice cubes which won’t won’t dilute your drink as quickly as its smaller counterparts.
- Use simple syrup if you have sugar but no sugar cubes.
- Replace the sugar altogether and use Benedictine liqueur. Its sweet and herbal taste works well with the Irish whiskey.
Other Old-Fashioned Cocktails Worth Trying
Irish Old-Fashioned Mocktail: Use a non-alcoholic version of Irish whiskey, if you can find one. If not, consider using ginger beer or ginger ale for that bite.
Tequila Old-Fashioned: Reposado tequila, agave nectar, Angostura bitters, orange, and a maraschino cherry
Brandy Old-Fashioned: Brandy, sugar cube, Angostura bitters, orange slice, maraschino cherry, and club soda
Classic Old-Fashioned: Bourbon or rye, sugar cube, Angostura bitters, orange twist, and a cherry.