Mix Up Your Evenings With An Iced Coffee And Old-Fashioned Fusion

The Old Fashioned is the king of the Mixology Hall of Fame for a reason. It's the OG inspiration behind other classics like the Manhattan, the Whiskey Sour, and the Sazerac. Traditionally, an Old Fashioned combines whiskey, sugar, and bitters, stirred. A citrus peel is customary for garnish; often the oils of an orange peel are expressed into the drink or around the rim of the glass. But, here at Tasting Table, we're also singing the tune of non-traditional cocktails: Add a little iced coffee into the mix. We just offer these few tips to keep in mind as you build. 

Opt for a whiskey with a high enough ABV to retain a little burn. 90 proof is the sweet spot. Also, you might be tempted to dump a sugar packet into the mix (it's how you sweeten your regular coffee, after all, right?) but under no circumstances should you do this. Sugar may be one of the main ingredients in an Old Fashioned, but it gets muddled at the bottom of the glass with water and bitters. Simple syrup would even work here, too. Now that we've covered the basics, it's time for the fun part and to get creative.

Sweet and sophisticated

To make a simple, straightforward iced coffee Old Fashioned, combine cold brew, rye whiskey, and a dash of orange bitters. We recommend serving this one over a single large ice cube. It's the ideal type of ice for any whiskey-based cocktail or enjoying whiskey plain on the rocks (or, rather, "rock" singular). It's a fresh take on a familiar classic, but it's also the foundation of other, more inventive coffee-infused Old Fashioned creations ... if you dare.

The Rusty Nail is a variation on the Old Fashioned cocktail that mixes Scotch whisky with Drambuie, a golden-colored liqueur made with honey, herbs, and spices. Its sweet, complex flavor profile would make it an excellent pair with iced coffee and a little Scotch for a killer digestif.

For foodies with an especially powerful sweet tooth, try whipping up this dessert version of a coffee Old Fashioned. Just combine chilled espresso, bourbon or whiskey, orange bitters, and a hint of chocolate with crème de cacao. For a richer flavor, you could even use a peanut butter whiskey. With this version, it might be wise to add all the ingredients to a shaker and dry shake. This is typically a no-no for an Old Fashioned, but this is certainly not the average list of ingredients, and it could use a helping hand to thoroughly incorporate.

The stronger side

Maybe sweet drinks aren't really your thing. In fact, if you self-identify as an Old Fashioned fan in the first place, then there's probably a good chance that your style is a stiffer, more mature cocktail tailor-made for sipping in a leather armchair in a dark wood-paneled library. 

For foodies with such a palate, we recommend making the classic iced coffee Old Fashioned we mentioned earlier but with a spiced bourbon for a little kick, such as Knob Creek Smoked Maple bourbon whiskey. You could even garnish with a whole clove or star anise to bring out the spicier notes.

To depart from whiskey entirely, consider making a coffee-flavored vodka Old Fashioned with Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur. If you've never tried it before, Mr Black is made from Australian wheat vodka and 100% Arabica beans. It packs a 25% ABV, hefty for a liqueur, but it's balanced with light caramel notes and none of the overly-sugary sweetness of other coffee liqueurs. 

To make a coffee vodka Old Fashioned, combine Mr Black with equal parts rye whiskey and a dash of orange bitters, garnished with an orange twist. If you'd rather not mix spirits, skip the whiskey and use 1 ounce of Mr Black and 1 ounce of unflavored vodka, plus Angostura bitters and a little simple syrup to finish.