I still remember the very first Oaxacan Old Fashioned I ever had.
It was at Teardrop Cocktail Lounge in Portland, Oregon.
When I travel to bars, people often ask me if I have a “go-to” order. I tell them, I usually like to order from the menu, as when it comes to the best cocktail bars in the world, that’s often where you’ll find the most unique drinks. In some cases, they’ve spent months, if not years perfecting them – so I want to try those.
But I also always have a specific request in my back pocket if I decide to go off-menu. This also works if I want to see a bartender’s creativity put to the test as well.
What is it?
I ask for a “Smoky Old Fashioned.”
Whatever it means to you.
And the first time I ever asked a bartender for a smoky old fashioned, at Teardrop, I was served a Oaxacan Old Fashioned.
It’s been one of my favorite drinks ever since.
What is a Oaxacan Old Fashioned?
A Oaxaca (or Oaxacan depending on who you ask) Old Fashioned gets its name because it uses a combination of tequila and mezcal, rather than whiskey in the drink.
As with many fantastic drinks, this cocktail was originally created by Phil Ward at Death and Co in New York City.
If you’ve read my “best cocktail books” content, you know I’m a huge fan of their
Sidenote: This past week I’ve been going deep into their latest book, Welcome Home. Highly recommended.
The team from Death and Co are putting out the most consistently good cocktail books in the world right now. Their latest book, Welcome Home, is no exception. Just get it.
What I love about it is that it’s no more difficult to make than a traditional old-fashioned, but it gives you a wildly different flavor. So if you’re in the mood for something different, this is a nice way to mix it up.
While the majority of the drink is tequila, the smoke comes from a half-ounce of mezcal – making this a nice split base old fashioned.
How to Make a Oaxaca Old Fashioned
As I mentioned, this is a very easy drink to make.
Simply combine the following in a mixing glass, stir over
- 1.5oz reposado tequila
- .5oz mezcal
- 1tsp agave syrup
- 1 dash bitters
Add a flamed orange peel for garnish.
Voila! You’ve made yourself one of the very best old-fashioned variations on the planet.
How to Flame an Orange Peel
One signature element of the Oaxacan Old Fashioned is the flamed orange peel.
Not only does it add a dramatic effect when making the drink, but the oils that are expressed into the drink help both the aroma of the drink, as well as the taste.
You can do this without the flame, but if you have a lighter or a match it’s a subtle way to add an extra hint of that smoky element of the drink.
To flame an orange peel is actually quite easy:
- Use a pairing knife to cut off a nice 2-3 inch piece of orange peel
- Light a match and hold it about 4 inches above the glass
- Squeeze the peel to express the oils into the flame
Keep in mind, it’s not actually the flame you’re trying to get into the glass, but rather the oils.
If you really want to get extra with it, use a smoking gun to actually smoke the cocktail.
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy one of my favorite drinks!
Oaxacan Old Fashioned
- Mixing Glass
- Bar Spoon
- Hawthorne Strainer
- 1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
- .5 oz Mezcal
- 1 tsp Agave Syrup
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Peel Orange For Garnish
- Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass over ice
- Stir for 20 seconds
- Strain over a big cube into an old fashioned glass
- Take an orange peel and express oils over drink. Light a match for extra effect.