Old fashioneds are usually dark drinks made with brown liquors, but the basic format — booze, sugar, bitters, ice — can be applied to any high-quality spirit, even pale ones. Really good gin does not need much else — that’s why martinis are so widely-loved — but the beauty of a gin old fashioned, or any old fashioned, lies in its ease of construction. (My love for gin is rivaled only by my love of not doing things.)
You could make a gin old fashioned with plain sugar, and it would be good, but I took one extra step to make this cocktail brighter, sunnier, and a touch more special. You may recall that I am a huge fan of Stella Parks’ no-cook fruit scrap syrups, which are extremely low-effort and delicious. After making a pitcher of lemonade recently, I tossed the spent lemon rinds with sugar, then let them hang out until a beautifully fragrant, yellow syrup pooled in the bottom of the bowl. (Thanks, osmosis!)
I then mixed a teaspoon of the resulting syrup with a couple of millilitres of Hendrick’s Lunar gin, which lacks the cucumber flavour of the original but makes up for it with more citrus. (Full disclosure: They sent this gin to me.) Any gin, however, would work with this syrup, because lemon and gin are two great flavours that get along great. You can stir everything (with ice) and strain into a lowball with one big cube, or you can build it right in the glass and add cracked ice to dilute and chill in situ. (I choose the latter option almost always, because it is the easiest.) To make this sunny, just-sweet-enough old fashioned, you will need:
- 60mL gin
- 1 teaspoon lemon syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitter
Pour everything into a lowball and stir, then add lots of cracked ice and stir once more. This drink will be a little hot at first, but will mellow as the ice melts, which — in my opinion — is all part of the journey.