The old fashioned is a simple cocktail made by mixing sugar with vermouth and water, adding lemon or, less commonly, alcohol, and garnishing using a cocktail cherry or orange slice. It's traditionally served in old-fashioned glass, which predates the modern-style cocktail shaker. The drink can be spiced up by substituting the vermouth for brandy or whiskey; and garnished with an orange slice for an old-fashioned twist.
There are three main ingredients to this simple cocktail. The basic mix consists of the simple syrup, a maraschino cherry, and alcohol. I like to keep this mix simple, as it's easy to prepare and drink. I prefer a light-colored maraschino cherry over a dark colored one, for example. A good quality maraschino will have a smooth surface and be quite firm. Maraschino cherries are very tart and you don't want mushy ones here.
One way to increase the level of tannin in your old fashioned is to add a little ice. This works perfectly well if you've got some nice fresh oranges at home, but there are many ways you can do it. Most bartenders will put a shot of whiskey (or a brandy substitute) in a shot glass and then fill it with a small amount of ice cubes, then add a few dainty spoons of orange peel or orange spice. Stir and you've got a beautiful new cocktail.
Other ingredients can vary according to taste, but three main ingredients remain almost always involved in the preparation of this cocktail. The basic mix, again, is sugar, a maraschino cherry, and alcohol. The amount you need will depend on how much alcohol you intend to put in, and also how much sugar you want to add. If you're using sugar, use brown sugar, or even honey, since these all have a sweeter taste. You can also use xylitol or xylene which are natural sugar substitutes.
When mixing these ingredients together, stir them very gently. Then, take your maraschino cherry and cut a thin slice from the side, just long enough to puncture the cherry in two places. Use the remaining maraschino cherry pieces to fill up the holes in the maraschino, press down gently, and pour in your simple syrup. Stir until well blended, and then let it marinate for approximately thirty minutes.
Once that is done, you simply strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a small container inside your freezer. Leave it out at room temperature and then use your blender or immersion blender to puree it until it is completely smooth. Once you are completely done, it is simply a matter of serving it chilled. If you serve it hot, you can let it simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes to acquire the ideal thickness. If it is too thin, it may burn easily. If you're looking to impress your guests with a wonderful cocktail, this is an excellent option.
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