A classic cocktail goes north of the border for a flip of flavor in this Maple Old-Fashioned.
In the world of cocktails there are few more revered than the Old Fashioned. Maybe we associate it with sophisticated business types a la Mad Men. Or perhaps you think, as I do, that bourbon is a “serious” spirit (silly, I know). Regardless, particular care must be shown when preparing a drink that is simultaneously savory and sweet.
Speaking of which, in this version of the Old Fashioned, we’re borrowing from our neighbors to the north for a hint of maple syrup. The tree juice (does anyone call it that?) replaces the sugar cube that is usually mulled with the bitters and orange peel at the bottom of the glass. It makes for a smoother cocktail with a more distinct taste beyond the neutral sweetness of the white sugar.
It’s yet another amendment—like the Wisconsin Old Fashioned or Tequila Old Fashioned—to a cocktail that has been around since the 1800s. It’s said to have been invented at a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky, and was originally called a whiskey cocktail. It was considered an old fashioned as time wore on and newer, fancier cocktails were invented. People would ask for an old fashioned to distinguish they wanted a drink made the old-fashioned way: with whiskey, bitters, water, and sugar. If you want to know more about the Old Fashioned, we’ve written an article on the matter. Why not check it out!
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1/2 oz. maple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 twist orange peel (for garnish)
- Combine the bourbon, maple syrup and Angostura bitters in a cocktail mixing glass.
- Fill the glass with ice and stir until well chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain the mix into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish it with an orange peel twist.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Maple Old Fashioned
- Like every serious bartender, you need to partially tear the orange peel to release its essence over the drink then run it around the rim of your glass.
- Use large ice cubes. They won’t melt and dilute your Old Fashioned as quickly as the smaller ones. Also you should use clear ice, it looks goergous!
- Don’t shirk your shaking responsibilities. The syrup will need proper time to fully dissolve.
- Toasting the maple syrup in a sauce pan on MED heat is a good idea as it enhances its flavor.
- Some maple syrup can be quite strong, start off with a little. You can always add more if it’s not sweet enough.
Old Fashioned Variations
Classic Old Fashioned: Nothing beats the original
Brandy Old Fashioned: An upscale variation with brandy
Tequila Old Fashioned: A delicious south of the border twist
Wisconsin Old Fashioned: Interesting variation with lime soda