Tequila is best known for its use in classic cocktails like the Margarita and Paloma, but the agave-based spirit is a workhorse that can be consumed neat or utilized in everything from refreshing sours to potent stirred drinks.
Consider the Old Fashioned. Typically made with bourbon or rye whiskey, it’s ripe for experimentation and still shines when featuring other base spirits, from brandy to mezcal to tequila. When tequila takes center stage, it lends its unique notes of earth, spice and agave to the equation.
Shaken fresh-juice cocktails like the Margarita benefit from dry, earthy blanco tequila, but the Añejo Old Fashioned calls for añejo tequila, a category that describes tequilas aged for a minimum of one year. The oak-accented spirit is more similar to whiskey—it’s often aged in used whiskey barrels—and takes on the vanilla, caramel and spice notes from the barrel while still providing the roasted agave notes that tequila drinkers love. Combined with bitters and agave syrup (rather than simple syrup or granulated sugar), the cocktail is familiar, satisfying and delicious.
This recipe comes from New York bartending vet Julie Reiner, who’s responsible for some of the city’s best cocktail bars, including Clover Club, Leyenda and the former Flatiron Lounge. She began serving the Añejo Old Fashioned at Flatiron Lounge in the aughts, helping its popularity spread across New York and then the rest of the country. Make one for yourself the next time you want to tweak your favorite cocktail or enjoy a smooth and savory nightcap.
Click Play to See This Añejo Old Fashioned Recipe Come Together
- 1/4 ounce agave nectar
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Orange peel
- 3 ounces añejo tequila
- Garnish: Brandied cherry
In a mixing glass, lightly muddle the agave nectar, bitters and orange peel.
Add the tequila, then fill with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice, and garnish with a brandied cherry.