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The best bars for Old Fashioneds + how to make one
Where to drink one of the world’s oldest cocktails + a recipe
Last updated: 22 November 2022
It’s Old Fashioned month: Time to find and taste the best versions of this classic cocktail.
Woodford Reserve, in partnership with Angostura bitters, is celebrating the world’s number one cocktail – the Old Fashioned – loved by bartenders and whisky enthusiasts worldwide.
If you don’t know the citrusy, smokey flavours of the Old Fashioned, expect a spectacle for the senses. Plus, we’ve found you the bars and restaurants that are participating in making a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned best.
Find the best Old Fashioneds in town or learn to make one yourself. Image: Louise Hansel
WHAT IS AN OLD FASHIONED?
Typically, the recipe calls for a simple blend of bourbon, bitters, water and sugar. The Old Fashioned is largely still made according to the oldest known cocktail recipe, and it is believed that it was founded at The Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
The recipe is said to have been invented by a local bartender in honour of a prominent bourbon distiller who brought the recipe to the internationally acclaimed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.
The name originates from the way it is made, with people heading to cocktail bars and requesting for their drink to be created the ‘old fashioned way’.
Traditionally ‘the old-fashioned way’ was to take a whiskey glass and add a lump of sugar, dissolving it with a small amount of water. The bartender would then add two dashes of bitters, a lump of ice and a miniature bar spoon. They would then hand the drink back to the customer, along with a bottle of bourbon, and allow them to pour their own drink.
A classic cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Image: Woodford Reserve
HOW TO MAKE AN OLD FASHIONED (IN LESS THAN 5 MINS)
The secret to a great Old Fashioned is premium and quality whiskey.
Woodford Reserve is particularly suited to the Old Fashioned as it is a super-premium whiskey crafted carefully with more than 200 flavour notes. Combined with Angostura’s Aromatic Bitters original secret recipe from 1824, you can be sure your Old Fashioned tastes as good as the pros.
Always use a clear whiskey tumbler glass and large ice cubes to keep the drink at the best temperature and to not dilute the spirit.
The next step is to ensure you have a chilled glass, and for a bit of a show stir the drink in front of the person you’re making it for. Importantly, don’t shake the cocktail - an old fashioned should be stirred, not shaken.
50ml Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select
1 tsp brown sugar
2 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Ice cubes (1 big one is best)
An orange peel
Add ingredients to a mixing glass, then add ice. Stir for 30 to 40 seconds and strain into a whiskey tumbler. Serve with an ice block or two (not too much ice) and top with a piece of lightly squeezed orange peel.
Follow @woodfordreserve for tips and tricks on how to make an Old Fashioned. Image: Woodford Reserve
THE BEST BARS FOR DRINKING OLD FASHIONEDS
During Old Fashioned Month mixologists from more than 100 local bars will shelve their shakers for mixing spoons to perfect the classic cocktail with a twist.
Woodford Reserve have made it easy to find bars close to you that use premium ingredients in their whiskey cocktails, with their online barfinder. Just enter a city name or postal code and boom – your Old Fashioned bar crawl route is revealed.
Essential Old Fashioned ingredients. Image: Simone Strydom
8 OF CAPE TOWN'S BEST BARS FOR OLD FASHIONEDS
1. The opulent 3-storey bar that’s great for date night, The Athletic Club & Social
2. The iconic Casablanca-themed Rick’s Cafe
3. A must-visit bar and restaurant on Strand Street, Vixi
4. A favourite with Constantia (and beyond) locals, Foxcroft
5. The bar where cocktails tell stories, Fable
6. A Bree Street icon, Burger & Lobster
7. A spot that’s always worth the drive to Hout Bay, Deus Ex Machina
8. You need a secret password to get into Art of Duplicity
Order an Old Fashioned this November. Image: Woodford Reserve
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
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Check out these 7+ things to do this week(end).