New Orleans Old Fashioned

Source: D.L. Chandler / DLC

There is something enthralling about the journey of becoming a cocktail hobbyist, especially when you begin making your own spins on the classics. We tried our hand at making an Old Fashioned using cognac as the base spirit, and we’re happy to report that it was excellent as hoped.

I’ve previously put together a Sazerac for Spirit.Ed, which is the official drink of the great city of New Orleans. Traditionally, the cocktail was made with cognac, but later iterations replaced that spirit with spicier rye whiskey. No matter how one experiences a Sazerac, the combination of the base spirit, the important absinthe glass rinse, simple syrup, and the Peychaud’s bitters is one of the best slow sippers ever crafted.

Inspired by my journeys to the Big Easy and their bevy of classic cocktail bars, I decided to change it up and try my hand at using ingredients connected to the Lousiana city with a drink that captures all I love about Nawlins.

For the Old Fashioned, I used Hennessy for the base and looked over my bar to figure out where to go next. From there, I gathered my trusty bottle of Peychaud’s, a bottle of freshly made demerara simple syrup, and an orange for the garnish.

If Peychaud’s is difficult to find, Bitter Truth makes a creole style of their offerings that’s good in a pinch. I’ve only made this drink twice, but I enjoy how the cognac and Peychaud’s work with the demerara’s rich taste. Part of me even wondered if I misted inside the glass with absinthe would have been a smart play, but as it stands, this is a damn fine cocktail.

New Orleans-inspired Old Fashioned:

2 oz cognac

1/4 demerara simple syrup

3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters (or Bitter Truth creole bitters)

Like any other Old Fashioned, this drink is built in the glass. Add the cognac, simple syrup, and bitters. Then add ice and stir vigorously for 20-30 seconds in a mixing glass. Then pour into an old fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with either a lemon or orange peel.

I won’t be so haughty to think I’m the first bedroom bartender to do this combination, nor was I interested in trying to come up with a clever name for it. Using the familiar adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” everything about this drink worked for me. Could it be tweaked? Sure. Does it need to be? Not as of this writing.

As always, sip safely and surely.

Photo: D.L. Chandler