Cocktail history is a little fuzzy (no big surprise, huh?). As far as we know the Old Fashioned was the first cocktail. Hundreds of years later, it’s still an awesome drink. While this drink has gotten many embellishments over the years, the classic recipe is just spirit, sugar, and bitters. But you can do the “sugar” part a few different ways and still have the traditional tipple.
If you use a sugar cube, you’ll be getting one teaspoon of sugar in your drink. An easier (and smoother) way to get the same amount of sugar is to use a teaspoon of rich simple syrup. The “rich” just means you make the syrup by cooking 2 parts sugar with 1 part water. An even smoother way is to use a teaspoon of gomme syrup, which is a rich simple syrup with a little gum Arabic added as an emulsifier. All three drinks will be fantastic, but the gomme will add a silky texture and fullness to the drink that will make it even more luxurious. You can get the recipe for gomme syrup from my post on Serious Eats.
Whether you make gomme or not, you can (and should!) make yourself and Old Fashioned.
2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
1 teaspoon gomme syrup or rich simple syrup
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Put the syrup and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass and stir, then add a couple of large ice cubes and the whiskey. Stir until well chilled. Optional: Garnish with an orange twist or slice.
(If you prefer to use a sugar cube or teaspoon of fine sugar, you may want to add a drop or two of water when you mix it with the bitters)