Industry veteran Jacques Bezuidenhout takes the classic Old Fashioned and turns it on its head with his Spiced Old Fashioned recipe, which uses tequila as the base spirit and brings layers of serious heat into the mix. For him, it’s second nature to find harmony between the tried and true classics and his personal love affair with tequila. The Spiced Old Fashioned is the ultimate representation of the magic that can happen when bartenders think outside the box—the primary contributor to the continued evolution of an industry that loves to keep us on our toes.
When it comes to adding spice to a drink, it’s important to keep balance in mind as you build, whether you’re using fresh ingredients, preserves, tinctures, syrups, bitters or infusions. Of course, this is key in all cocktails, but especially those with a heat factor—you want the spice to add to the experience, not overpower other flavors. Bezuidenhout has done the legwork here with this recipe—his Spiced Old Fashioned is bright and nuanced with deep, woodsy notes, bright pops of citrus, and subtle baking spices, all braced by piquant Fresno chile—but if you want to adjust the spice level, proceed with caution. In general, you’ll want to take things slow and add little by little when modifying a recipe, because it’s much easier to continue adding than it is to take away if you find that you’ve gone too far.
This how-to video, guided by Beziudenhout himself, is the perfect primer for any foray into both riffing on classics and working with spicy ingredients, so give it a watch before diving in. And remember: as timeless historical emblems, the classics are classic for a reason, but every recipe is ripe for the riffing.
Watch Now: How to Make a Spiced Old Fashioned
- 2 tsp Maple syrup
- 2 slices Fresno chile
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 oz Partida añejo tequila
- Garnish: orange twist
- Garnish: Fresno chile slice
In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the maple syrup, chile and bitters.
Add the tequila and fill with ice, then stir until well-chilled.
Garnish with an orange twist and another slice of Fresno chile.