The Old Fashioned is a time-honored cocktail. Consisting of the fundamental aspects that makes a drink a cocktail—spirits, bitter, sugar and ice—it stands the test of time both through its elegant simplicity as well as its versatility. While traditionally made with whiskey, especially bourbon, any spirit will do in an Old Fashioned. Admittedly, though, the darker, aged spirits tend to work best, including aged rums.
The Autumn Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail is one such example. It comes from the staff at Kansas City, Missouri’s Julep Cocktail Club, who wanted a seasonal take on the classic Old Fashioned that emphasized some of fall’s favorite flavors and ingredients. With only three ingredients to work with in an Old Fashioned, that takes a bit of finagling.
To that end, co-owner and bar manager Beau Williams uses Mount Gay XO rum, a blend of rums from Barbados whose more gentle flavor profile keeps the drink light and bright. Though popular for its complex profile, it can lean towards the pricier side of rum bottles in some markets. Rums like Plantation 5 Year, another Barbados rum, can easily stand in.
And, rather than the traditional simple syrup often used in the drink, Williams uses an apple cider syrup for added sweetness. This apple cider and brown sugar reduction serves well in the cocktail, but it also can be can be further reduced and drizzled over, say, warm apple pie à la mode, coffee cake, pancakes and waffles.
Finally, like with any Old Fashioned, a few dashes of bitters are required. Williams keeps a traditional approach here, opting for three dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters. Swapping out some or all of the bitters for orange bitters can bring extra zest and brightness to the drink, so feel free to play around.
- 2 ounces Mount Gay XO rum
- 1 barspoon apple cider syrup*
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Garnish: orange twist
Add the Mount Gay rum, apple cider syrup and Angostura bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into an Old Fashioned glass.
Express the oil of an orange twist over the drink, then drop the twist into the drink.
*Apple cider syrup: In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine 1 cup apple cider and 2 cups brown sugar, stirring constantly to emulsify the sugar. Once the liquid reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and continue to stir occasionally until the liquid reduces enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add a pinch of salt, stir, then remove the syrup from the heat, and allow to cool. Transfer the syrup to a Mason jar, and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.