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The Great Wagon Road and The Great Old Fashioned

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

If you’ve been out and about in Charlotte over the last few years, you may have noticed a trend; craft cocktails have made a comeback. Bartenders everywhere are taking the art of mixing to the next level by drawing influence on the “Classics”, The Old Fashioned being in the lead for new interpretations. The classic of classics dates all the way back to 1881 where it’s been said to have originated from the Pendennis Club invented to honor a famous bourbon aristocrat James E. Pepper. Once introduced at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel Bar in New York it quickly spread throughout social circles climbing the ladder of popularity. Historically the drink was made with a lump of sugar moistened with bitters and water then adding in the ice, the bartender would simply hand over a bottle of “spirituous liquor” to the guest and allow them to pour as they so pleased. You may not be able to pour your own potion now, still the interpretations we’ve seen range from the incredulous smoked out Old Fashioned to coffee infused variations.

At our Distillery we’ve built our foundation on the past which has given inspiration for our future. From our artisan mountain spring water to the delicate paper filtration of our whiskey we truly care about making something not just to be enjoyed, but to amaze. In essence our Old Fashioned is exactly that, we take the essence of the flavors meant to bring out the best not only in our Rua Single Malt Whiskey but also taking heed of traditional flavors of the cocktail itself.

Cherry and Orange; Two profiles of flavor that have come to infamous levels of being associated with the beloved cocktail. My friends, I am here to tell you that bitters are your friend. Today we can get our hands on just about any flavor of bitters you can think of while they’re able to impart balance, cut richness, and have medicinal qualities. Personally, we make ours with traditional Aromatic Bitters then take it a step further by adding in an equal amount of Orange Bitters coating a raw sugar cube placed in a glass with a dash of house made bourbon soaked cherry juice.

Adding bitter

Preference is key when trying to perfect your Old Fashioned, like coffee? A few drops of Coffee Bitters can do wonders for adding a perfect amount of flavor. For a seasonal twist you could also concoct your own Maple Simple Syrup (equal parts water, sugar, and maple syrup) and Apple Bitters.

After deciding on what flavors are most appealing for your crafted classic, it’s all about the process! Place a sugar cube or small amount of sugar in a glass, add your bitters and begin to muddle the mixture so the sugar can start to dissolve. Some enthusiasts might also suggest adding a drop of water to bring out the more subtle tasting notes of the whiskey as well.

The Old Fashioned

Once your bitters and sugar are muddled, here’s where the fun begins slowly pour in your allotted amount of spirit, fill with ice, and give it a brisk stir with a long bar spoon or tool of choice for about 15 seconds. Strain into a whiskey rocks glass and ENJOY!


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