Oaxaca Old Fashioned


Published: 02/17/24

oaxaca old fashioned
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The Oaxaca Old Fashioned is a sophisticated adaptation of the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, distinguished by its agave-based composition and the notable incorporation of smokiness derived from mezcal. This cocktail, named after the Mexican state of Oaxaca – a region synonymous with the production of over 90% of the world’s mezcal – combines the traditional with the contemporary, reflecting the rich heritage of Mexican distillation and the innovative spirit of modern mixology.

The foundation of the Oaxaca Old Fashioned lies in its careful selection of ingredients: tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters. This choice of components not only pays homage to the cocktail’s cultural roots but also ensures a flavor profile that is both complex and inviting. The tequila provides a smooth, agave-forward base, while the mezcal introduces a layer of smokiness that is characteristic of the traditional Oaxacan spirit, distilled from the heart of the agave plant and imbued with the essence of the local terroir.

Agave nectar, a natural sweetener derived from the same plant that gives us tequila and mezcal, is used instead of the sugar cube or simple syrup found in the classic Old Fashioned recipe. This substitution maintains the cocktail’s sweet balance while enhancing its agave-centric theme. Angostura bitters, a must-have ingredient in Old Fashioned crafting, contribute depth and complexity, rounding out the drink’s flavor profile with their herbal and spice notes.

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned was created in 2007 by Phil Ward at Death & Co., a renowned cocktail bar in New York City. Ward’s innovative approach to the Old Fashioned not only showcased his mastery of mixology but also highlighted the potential of agave-based spirits to inspire new classics.

Ward’s original recipe uses Angostura bitters. However, nowadays many bartenders around the world like to use mole bitters, a choice that not only showcases a progressive approach to flavor complexity but also aligns with the contemporary inclination towards bespoke beverage creation. The adoption of mole bitters instead of Angostura represents a sophisticated pivot in the art of cocktail formulation, giving the cocktail a warming and chocolatey note.

Oaxaca Old Fashioned Recipe

  1. 45 ml Reposado tequila

  2. 15 ml mezcal

  3. 7.5 ml agave nectar

  4. 2 dashes Angostura bitters, or mole bitters

  5. Ice

  6. Garnish: orange peel

oaxaca old fashioned cocktail

How to Make an Oaxaca Old Fashioned

  1. Add the tequila, mezcal, agave nectar, and Angostura bitters into a mixing glass.

  2. Add ice and stir for 10-20 seconds, until chilled.

  3. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass, over a large ice cube.

  4. Garnish with an orange peel

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