Bartender Maggie Emerson of Horizons Lounge at Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Perinton was inspired my AMC’s Mad Men to put her own touches on the classic cocktail.
“Normally, an Old-Fashioned doesn’t have a lemon and uses, if any, just regular water. It may seem like a small change, but it makes the world of difference,” she says.
The lemon adds a freshness, she says, that the orange — usually the only citrus fruit used in an Old-Fashioned — lacks. And the soda water “gives it just a tad of texture.”
Emerson also recommends experimenting with different flavored bitters, like cherry or orange, to give the drink an added kick.
“I suppose taste-wise I’m going for something warm but freshly sweet. I want the bourbon to be appreciated and enhanced, not totally masked by mixers. The fruit sweetens the medley, and the soda water dilutes the bourbon just enough to cut some of the alcoholic aftertaste and brighten its flavor.”
2 ounces bourbon (Maker’s Mark is good, or Knob Creek, if you’re feeling extra classy)
In a glass, muddle (crush and mix) together the sugar, bitters, two of the cherries, one of the orange slices and the lemon wedge. Add a splash of the soda water. Add ice, pour in bourbon, and top with another splash of soda water. Garnish with the other orange slice and cherry.
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 teaspoon sugar
3 maraschino cherries
2 orange slices
1 lemon wedge
Splash of soda water