Elijah Craig celebrates the Old Fashioned

I often get asked what I like to drink, especially by bartenders.


What … too soon for a joke?

But really, my favorite bourbon cocktail has to be the classic Old Fashioned, beating out our tried and true Mint Julep by a nose.

The Old Fashioned brings out the best in bourbon by only using three simple ingredients, not including ice: bourbon, bitters and sugar.

That’s it! No need to muddle a mess of oranges and cherries at the bottom of my glass. No need to pour in fake cherry juice.

If you insist on adding fruit, I’ll take one Luxardo cherry and a spritz of an orange peel, which you have my permission to stuff into the cocktail afterward.

The Old Fashioned is the official cocktail of Louisville, as declared by the mayor. And that same mayor gave me the key to the frickin’ city for helping him find the very best ones in town.

The fact is, fall is the perfect time to indulge in an Old Fashioned or three, because it’s spicy, it’s semi-sweet, it’s hearty and it plays well with bourbon — meaning it doesn’t mask the wonderful flavors, but instead accentuates them.

Old Fashioned Week logo

Heaven Hill bourbon brand Elijah Craig is hosting an Old Fashioned Week now, and the big event — which you can join for free in the comfort of your home — is Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 8 p.m.

Chef Richard Blais will talk about the classic cocktail, which was invented in Louisville, and also show you the proper way to make one. The session will include special guests and even a live Q&A — just in case you can’t get it stirred the right way.

I suggest you have your ingredients ready by 7:30 before jumping on the session (which you can access here, or on Elijah Craig’s YouTube, Facebook or Instagram). Grab your bourbon, grab some bitters (preferably orange bitters), grab some sugar (or simple syrup) and pick up a jar of those Luxardo cherries!

Get ready to learn the tricks of this treat!

Old Fashioned cocktail
The Old Fashioned is the perfect fall drink. | Photo by Sara Havens

One other note: There’s another session called “Elevating Your Home Bar” that’ll take place on Friday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. I’m always looking for more ways to entertain my friends (free bourbon sometimes isn’t enough), so hopefully there will be lots of advice on this topic.

More info here.

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