Ah, the Old Fashioned: the reliable go-to of the drinks world. It’s like the Axe Body Spray of cocktails — the same every time and over-the-top boozy, right?
This Mother’s Day, treat your mom (and if you’re a mom reading this, treat yourself!) to our twist on that O.G. concoction that defined cocktails in the first place. This recipe will level up your home bartending technique for life and make Mom feel as special as she deserves to.
The typical Old Fashioned recipe is timeless and simple, consisting of bitters, sugar and (usually) bourbon whiskey, stirred to give it that silky texture, and lifted with a little mist of orange oil from a peel. This is a spirit-forward cocktail, so the whiskey is always the star of the show — and it’s crucial to choose a whiskey that’s worthy of the spotlight. That’s especially true when you’re celebrating the woman who gave birth to you.
And here, folks, is where we’re breaking all the rules that surround the Old Fashioned:
Enter Brenne whisky.
Brenne — a French single-malt from the region of Cognac — is the creation of New York City’s Allison Parc, who partnered with a third-generation farm distillery that had been producing cognac since the 1920s. Parc spent years traveling the U.S. and introducing drinkers of all kinds to Brenne’s well-earned place among revered single malts.
Yes, you read that correctly: We’re telling you to make an Old Fashioned with a single malt.
I’ve experimented a lot with this classic cocktail in my years behind the bar, and I’ve found that the best way to honor and enjoy it is to use a base spirit that doesn’t need much help in the delish department. Floral and creamy, with hints of butterscotch and woody citrus from Cognac barrels, Brenne is an absolute dream to make Old Fashioneds with, no matter what traditionalists say. It’s a beverage fit for the queen your mom is.
The first step to making this recipe (once you’ve collected your ingredients) is to make a sugar syrup to give your Mother’s Day Old Fashioned just the right amount of sweetness.
How to make sugar syrups
Many cocktails require a boost of sweetness, and sugar syrups (aka simple syrups) are the key. Just mix equal parts sweetener of your choice — white or turbinado sugar, honey, agave, etc. — and warm water heated to just under boiling. I used turbinado sugar for my cocktail.
Stir the mixture until the sweetener is completely dissolved, and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
Once your sugar syrup is cooled, you’re ready to complete your Mother’s Day Old Fashioned.