You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — just like you shouldn’t judge the old fashioned by its name.
Even though this classic whiskey cocktail has been around for what seems like forever, it has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the past decade or so.
One of the main drivers of the old fashioned enduringfashioned's enduring popularity is all the different twists that can be applied to the drink to add flair and personalization. One such twist is turning a regular old fashioned into a smoked old fashioned — a simple trick that completely changes both the flavor and the presentation of this classic drink
The best thing about the smoked old fashioned is that you can easily make one at home — withif you have the proper tools. Read on to find out how to make a smoked old fashioned using your Stündenglass Gravity Infuser, when to serve one, what foods to pair it with, and more!
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Smoked Old Fashioned Recipe
The old fashioned is a relatively easy cocktail to make and doesn't require too many sophisticated ingredients or tools. The same goes for its smoked alter ego.
Here’s how you can create one at home in five simple steps!
- Chilled lowball glass
- Bar spoon
- Stündenglass Gravity Infuser
- Stündenglass Beverage Cloche
- Glass bowl (optional)
- 2 oz whiskey (preferably rye or bourbon)
- 1 sugar cube / 1 tsp of sugar
- 2-4 dashesdashed Angostura bitters
- ½ tsp of water (optional)
- 2 orange peel twists
- 1 Maraschino cherry for garnish
- 1 large ice cube/ball
- Wood chips for the Infuser
- Add the sugar into the glass and soak it with your preferred amount of Angostura. Add a ½ tsp of water (optional) to the sugar-Angostura mixture and muddle everything together until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the ice and pour the whiskey over it.
- Stir until you get an even mixture.
- Squeeze the twist of orange peel over the glass to extract the oil and add the twist to the glass together with the Maraschino cherry.
- Place the cocktail into your Stündenglass Beverage Cloche set up with the Gravity Infuser and cover the lid. Using the wood chips of your choice, engage the Gravity Infuser and allow the smoke to fill the Cloche with the drink inside. Leave with the lid on for 1-2 minutes.
- Your smoked old fashioned is now ready. Enjoy it responsibly!
- If you’re looking for an even more intense smoked flavor, you can smoke the sugar and the garnish separately prior to mixing all of the ingredients together. Simply add the sugar and the garnish into a shallow bowl and put it into the Beverage Cloche for 1-2 minutes.
- If you don’t have a muddler or a bar spoon, you can use a regular teaspoon to muddle the sugar and mix the drink.
- To simplify the preparation process even more, you can substitute the sugar with a teaspoon of simple syrup.
- Even though the old fashioned is traditionally a whiskey cocktail, it works just as well with other kinds of dark liquor. Make it with añejo rum or cognac to explore a whole world of new flavors!
History Behind the Smoked Old Fashioned
Even though we asked you not to judge the old fashioned by its name, we must admit — it does live up at least to the “old” part. After all, it’s been around for over 200 years!
The old fashioned has a rich, yet slightly blurry history behind it. Unlike the Bellini, the French 75 and other more contemporary creations, the exact origins of the old fashioned are not really known. What is known, however, is that the old fashioned almost perfectly fits one of the earliest recorded definitions of a cocktail dating back to 1806.
According to that definition, a cocktail is a potent drink consisting of a spirit, bitters, sugar, and water — an almost precise old fashioned ingredient list! However, even if the contemporaries of Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and John Keats enjoyed an old fashioned every once in a while, they probably didn’t call it that.
To explore the origins of the name “old fashioned,” we need to fast forward to the second half of the 19th century when mixology began developing into something we know today. Around the 1860s, cocktails started getting more sophisticated as bartenders around the world began embracing more exotic flavors and ingredients.
However, not all cocktail drinkers were happy with that trend. Many of them were too used to the classic, simple flavors to get on board. As a result, another countertrend arose which made it more fashionable to enjoy cocktails made the “old-fashioned” way, following some of the earliest cocktail recipes — basic spirits, bitters...you get the idea.
As for the smoked old fashioned, its origins are equally unclear. What we know for a fact is that the smoked cocktails trend can be traced back to 2007 when New York bartender Eben Freeman invented the Waylon, a cocktail made from bourbon and smoked Coca-Cola. Since then, the smoked trend has taken the world of mixology by storm — and the old fashioned is no exception.
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When to Serve a Smoked Old Fashioned [+ Food Pairings]
No matter how you twist it, a smoked old fashioned still retains its old-school charm. After all, it’s an old drink that has long been associated with equally old-fashioned characters we know and love. Think John Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men — graygrey flannel suit on, a cigarette in one hand and an old fashioned in the other.
And even though its renaissance has helped change the old fashioned’s image, it remains a strong cocktail with an accentuated bitter whiskey taste. As such, it may not necessarily suit everyone’s tastes or just any occasion.
We recommend serving an old fashioned at dinnertime, ideally as a digestif after the meal. If you choose to serve one during the meal, it will pair best with savory, hearty dishes that complement the old fashioned’s bittersweet flavor, such as:
- Beef-based dishes
- Pork-based dishes
- Duck-based dishes
- Barbecue of any type
- Earthy cheeses
- Chocolate-based desserts
Pairing an old fashioned with such dishes will certainly please your guests’ taste buds, while the showmanship of preparing the classic drink using a Stündenglass Gravity Infuser could offer great entertainment and serve as a conversation starter to boot.
Cocktails Similar to a Smoked Old Fashioned
Love the history behind the old fashioned but can’t quite acquire a taste for it? Or, are you an old fashioned connoisseur interested in trying similar drinks?
Either way, you are in luck! There are many other classic cocktails that are similar to the old fashioned in terms of taste and presentation, yet are different enough to offer completely different flavor experiences.
Here are our favorite picks:
- Manhattan: Just like the old fashioned, the Manhattan is an official International Bartenders Association (IBA) cocktail and was famously featured in David A. Embury’s 1948 guide, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Traditionally made with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, it is seen by some as a more formal black-tie alternative to the old fashioned.
- Sazerac: Sazerac is considered by some to be the oldest American cocktail. Invented in mid-19th century New Orleans, it is traditionally prepared with cognac, absinthe, sugar, and a few dashes of Peychaud's Bitters. When made with whiskey, the Sazerac serves as a spicier, more potent alternative to the old fashioned — and yes, it can be smoked too.
- Whiskey sour: If you prefer your whiskey cocktails citrusy, the whiskey sour should be your drink of choice. Unlike the old fashioned, the whiskey sour is shaken and not stirred — just like all citrus-infused cocktails should be. The characteristic feature of the classic whiskey sour is a dash of egg white that not only gives the drink a more velvety, creamy texture, but also adds a delicious layer of thick foam.
- Boulevardier: If you’re yet to try a boulevardier or have never heard of it, we wouldn’t blame you. This classic recipe is still awaiting the revival that happened to the old fashioned, and we surely hope it comes around. The boulevardier is typically seen as the whiskey-based counterpart of the famous Negroni, incorporating bourbon or rye whiskey instead of gin, together with Campari and sweet vermouth.
Regardless of which one of these cocktails you decide to try next, bear in mind that just like the smoked old fashioned, each one of these recipes can be elevated to new smoky heights using the Stündenglass Gravity Infuser.
Wrapping Up on How to Make a Smoked Old Fashioned
The smoked old fashioned is not only a delicious twist on a true classic — It’s also an extremely easy cocktail to make at home, whether you simply want to relax on a Saturday evening with a nice drink in hand or impress your dinner guests with a fancy bar-like experience.
And even if you grow tired of it, there are many other similar cocktails you can explore, either smoked or au naturel. All you need is a Stündenglass Gravity Infuser with the Beverage Cloche and the woodchips of your choice.