Start your love affair with tequila and mezcal.
This cocktail was the one that opened my eyes to the world of tequila and mezcal, so it holds a special place in my heart. A lot of the same principles about ratios, ice, and stirring for a bourbon Old Fashioned apply. I'll add those notes below.
I’ve converted a lot of people into mezcal fan boys with this drink, so I hope you enjoy it. There’s also a really good twist on this drink that hits right at my southern roots, the substitution of Cheerwine syrup in place of the agave syrup. It brings a unique flavor that is far from traditional, but tradition is sometimes overrated. You can get Cheerwine syrup directly from their website in 20oz bottles.
If you want to read a little more about tequila and mezcal, you here's a place to start.
The Oaxana Old Fashioned
2 Oz Mezcal
1 Oz Agave Syrup (Try substituting .5 Oz Cheerwine Syrup and a splash of water, you heard it hear first…)
4 Dashes Hella Orange Bitters
2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
Maraschino Cherry (Luxardo when possible)
The ice you use here should be in large chunks. Avoid crushed ice like the plague. You want to be able to control the dilution of the drink. Introducing water is critical, but the smaller the pieces of ice used, the less control you will have as you prepare and later drink the cocktail. Which leads me to…
A good old fashioned should be stirred. Shaking just muddies up the cocktail, brings in little chunks of ice, and makes it foggy. Frankly, I hate it. There are people who say it needs to be stirred for at least 60 seconds but those are the same people who say you aren’t a man if you flip a steak more than once, take them with a grain of salt. I’ll drink my Old Fashioned while watching you try to come up with excuses to explain away your shitty, unevenly-cooked steak to your drunk neighbor at the block party. Ignore these “rules” and figure out what gets you to the flavor you want with the ice you use. I find it to usually be between 15-30 seconds before it gets to the point I like.
Set up a rocks glass with a large piece of ice
Set up a Cocktail mixing glass with enough ice to get about ⅓ of the way full
Add bourbon, simple syrup, and bitters to the mixing glass
Mix for at least 15 seconds. Give it a quick try with a straw, and repeat until you figure out the timing for yourself.
Strain over fresh ice into the rocks glass
Garnish by twisting the orange peel over the top of the glass to release it’s oils, and drop a cherry on a toothpick into the drink