How to Make a Better Old-Fashioned

December  5, 2014

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It’s one of life’s great myths that Friday evenings are about pomp and revelry. They are not. Friday evenings are about climbing into really soft pants and eating dinner before 9 and falling asleep before 11. As much as we want to paint the town red, we are tired. Sensibility wins. 

So we look to pragmatic cocktails at the end of a long week. We want to drink something that asks nothing of us, least of all not to spill it or to garnish it with a procession of mint. Save the skittish martinis and top-heavy glassware and raucous tiki cocktails for a well-rested Saturday -- today you'll drink a Maple Old-Fashioned in a sturdy, high-walled rocks glass, and you will feel safe. 

This is a drink that allows the laziness of fixing a finger of whiskey, neat, but makes you feel like you’re keeping up with all of the celebration happening outside your window. It’s both low-key and a little new, much like the Friday night of your dreams. 

Combine Canadian whisky with maple simple syrup (like a rich simple syrup where the sugar is maple) and a dash of bitters, and stir for a solid ten seconds. Strain over fresh ice. (As much fun as it is to build your old-fashioned in the glass, it also waters it down in a way you can’t really control. Take a page out of bartenders’ books and let this irritate you -- your drink will be better for it.) 

You’ll end up with a cocktail about as harmonious as a Canadian tuxedo, a little earthy from the maple and a lot warming from the liquor. And if I have to guess, you’ll do it all again next Friday. 

Maple Old-FashionedRecipe from The Bar Book

Serves 1 

1 1/2 
ounces Crown Royal Canadian whisky
 barspoon 2:1 maple simple syrup (see note in recipe)
1 to 2
 dashes Fee Brothers bitters, or other aromatic bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Sandra April 22, 2015
I love Crown Royal. I have so many purple and black bags. I drink it straight over ice with a twist of lemon.
henandchicks December 28, 2014
Crown Royal makes a whiskey flavored with maple. We got some to have with pancakes (and no, I'm not ashamed), but I bet it would be good here, too.
Nancy H. December 7, 2014
yum. or try a rye whiskey based product called Sortilege from Quebec. sweet sipping.
Greenstuff December 5, 2014
The Old Fashioned was the only cocktail that my mother mixed--she left the Martinis and Manhattans to my dad. She'd be pleased with your choice of Canadian whiskey. It's not in much favor, but to this day, Canadian seems the taste for me.

But I'm really wondering what she'd make of the maple! Maple syrup was another important ingredient in life--my brother tapped trees and ruined a lot of large pots to make our own. Wish she were here to do the taste test!