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The Beach-Ready Rum Old Fashioned

by Jane Teller

I’ve been a fan of traditional Rye Whiskey Old Fashioned cocktails for a long time, until the day I polished the whiskey bottle and needed to pour a friend a cocktail on the fly. I spotted my bottle of Flor de Caña White Rum and thought “what the heck” — so I went for it. I grabbed a low ball, put one sugar cube in the bottom of the glass, added two heavy-handed dashes of bitters, then 2 ounces of rum, filled with ice cubes and stirred. To garnish, I peeled a large slice of orange rind (without the pith) and twisted the orange oils into the cocktail before dropping it in. One sip and I was hooked. The bitters smoothes out and balances the rum and gives a manly Old Fashioned a beach-front taste. My friend was impressed with my improvisation skills but likes his liquor a little less strong so we added a splash of soda. We both found another cocktail to add to our repertoire. Since then, I’ve been trying new versions by muddling brandied cherries and fresh fruit, like strawberries and oranges, which work very well too. One note:  A quick online search shows that the Rum Old Fashioned isn’t exactly a new invention (although I didn’t see the muddled berries), but, hey, great minds think alike.