The good ol’ Old Fashioned is surging in popularity at bars across the country for its exceptionally refreshing character. Locals are getting behind the revival; too, as they endure the schizophrenic Miami weather this “winter.” We went in search of the best combination of American whiskey (or “whisky” for Maker’s Mark), bitters, sugar and water in town for you to enjoy when temps hover in the mid-80s. This classic cocktail is simply a smart choice on days and nights that seem more like June than January.
1. The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
Visit head bartender Ramsey Pimentel for his “Old Fashioned & Fierce.” It’s thoughtful and downright perfect. The quality of the Hudson Baby Bourbon and the richness of the infused cherries put this recipe at the top of our list.
- 1L of Cardenal Mendoza Spanish Brandy
- 750 mg of agave
- 2 oz Hudson Baby Bourbon
- 5 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 2 skinless orange wedges
- 3 – 4 cherries
- Infuse 3-4 cherries in 1L of brandy and 750 mg of agave for a minimum of 72 hours
- Muddle cherries and oranges in a mixing glass
- Pour 2 oz of bourbon in glass
- Add 5 ice cubes and stir for up to 10 seconds
- Strain into an old fashioned glass over ice cubes
- Add 5 drops of bitters
- Garnish with infused cherries and orange wheel
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 786-276-4000
2. Yardbird – Southern Table & Bar
Head to this South Beach hot spot for the “Yardbird Old Fashioned” — an archetypal recipe by Robert Ortenzio. It’s slightly sweet and somewhat bitter with just enough orange essence to create a nice balance. Ortenzio says it pairs especially well with Chef Jeff McInnis’ Sweet Tea-Brined Southern Ribs or his Grilled Yankee Steak.
- 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- 1 sugar cube
- 1/2 wheel of orange
- 2 drops of aromatic bitters
- Lemon twist
- In a rocks glass, muddle the orange wheel and sugar cube until sugar is dissolved.
- Next add bitters, bourbon, ice, and stir well.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, 1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-5220
3. Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami
Look for bartender Jack Araque at the Edge’s horseshoe bar and ask for his “Old Fashioned.” It’s not actually on the cocktail menu, but it should be. His choice to include orange AND lemon makes this drink sublime. Be prepared to order more than one.
- 2 oz Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon Whisky
- Orange and lemon Peel
- ¾ oz simple syrup
- Brandied cherry
- Combine the orange and lemon peel with 2 dashes bitters and ¾ oz of simple syrup and add ice.
- Then mix with 2 oz of whisky and a dash of soda water.
- To decorate, put brandied cherry on top.
Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami; 305-381-3190
4. Bourbon Steak
Sip on head bartender Peter Roca’s “Old Fashioned” at the elegant steak house in Aventura. This traditional interpretation includes a nod to bourbon’s history. You may remember from AP American History, that molasses was blockaded by the British during the Revolutionary War, which led to the rise of rye’s popularity. Then, a bunch of unwanted taxes forced distillers to move to the land of corn in Kentucky, which ultimately became the birthplace of Bourbon.
- 2 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
- 1 slice orange
- 2 molasses -cured Maraschino cherries
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 raw sugar cube
- 1 bottle of Fever-Tree club soda
- In a rocks glass, muddle the orange, cherries, bitters, and sugar cube
- Add ice and then bourbon
- Top off the cocktail with a splash of club soda
- Gently stir and then serve.
Bourbon Steak at Turnberry Isle Hotel & Resort, 19999 W. Country Club Dr., Aventura; 786-279-6600
Galena Mosovich is the lead writer for cocktail culture for Miami.com and The Miami Herald.