The other night, I was getting ready to make myself my usual drink, an Old-Fashioned, when I had a whelming sensation to make it with rum instead. It wasn’t an overwhelming sensation, because I didn’t do it. But the thought stuck with me, and the next night I did. I followed the exact template I use for a regular, rye-based Old-Fashioned with the single addition of a piece of pineapple.
I’ve already discussed the controversy over the Old-Fashioned, which hinges on whether the drink should have fruit in it or not. Most high-end and/or knowledgeable bartenders today would adhere to the more historical Old-Fashioned, but I prefer the sweeter, fruitier mid-century version. Feel free to make it however you want, but here’s what I do:
In an Old-Fashioned glass, mix 2-3 dashes of bitters, a thin half-slice of orange, a maraschino cherry, a chunk of fresh pineapple, a bit of simple syrup (to your taste – I use about a teaspoon I think), and a splash of club soda (maybe 1/2 to 1 oz.). Muddle the fruit thoroughly. Add rum (3ish ounces, err on the side of more). Stir lightly. Add a large chunk of ice.
The key to this drink will be the rum you use. I used Zaya, a 12-year old Trinidadian rum, which is very smooth and has strong vanilla notes. It was excellent. But any rum you like to sip will work here, I think. Just stay away from white rums and/or cheap rums. Those are fine when mixed, but given that this drink is mostly rum, you don’t want to skimp on quality here. And since there is a lot of variation among rums, more so I think than among ryes or bourbons, you can get a lot of mileage out of this recipe by subbing different rums. I might try it with Barbancourt 15 next time. In any case, this drink was just fantastic. Maybe even better than a regular Old-Fashioned, which is my favorite drink. Or was? Five livers.