For A Sweeter Bourbon Experience, Rim Your Next Old Fashioned With Brown Sugar

Warming and simple, yet sophisticated, old fashioned cocktails are great drinks to enjoy on a cozy night in or to serve as crowd pleasers to guests. They don't take much to prepare, with a classic recipe requiring only bourbon, bitters, syrup, and citrus peel, but there are a few ways you can elevate the drink to suit a special occasion. One way we recommend doing so is by rimming your rocks glass in brown sugar for a slightly sweeter and more indulgent drinking experience.

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is specifically aged in charred new oak barrels to give it a unique flavor. The result of this process is a spirit that is slightly sweeter than other whiskeys and that has prominent notes of vanilla and caramel. As such, adding brown sugar to a bourbon-based beverage can greatly enhance it, since it further highlights the existing tasting notes of the spirit. While you could mix some brown sugar directly into the cocktail, this risks overwhelming the other delicate flavors of the drink. Meanwhile, placing it only on the rim of the glass allows for just a hint of sweetness to complement the bourbon.

The best way to rim your glass

When applying sugar to the rim of a cocktail glass, it's important to use the right amount. Add too little, and you won't get any of the enhancing effects; too much, and it will become a clumpy mess. The easiest way to get the job done is by wetting the rim of the glass and then dipping the whole thing into a shallow pile of sugar. You can also ensure a perfectly successful sugar rim by dipping the outside of a chilled glass just after it is pulled out of the freezer.

You can use these rim techniques as an opportunity for recipe customization and self expression, as well. To further enhance the bourbon's aroma, give your old fashioned an autumnal flare by mixing cinnamon or nutmeg into the brown sugar. Alternatively, play around with the more savory notes of the bourbon by combining the sugar with smoked salt or a smoky ground chili pepper to bring out the charred oak.