Since I had vanilla bean pods lying around, I decided now would be an ideal opportunity to try a vanilla bean old fashioned.
This drink uses vanilla bean sugar, made by storing vanilla bean pods in plain granulated sugar for 1-2 weeks. It’s a great addition to baked goods, or in this case, an adult beverage.
I am no bartender. My original recipe instructed me to muddle the sugar with a splash of water in the bottom of a glass until dissolved. This was a pain in the butt, especially if you are making numerous drinks.
I thought, wouldn’t it be easier just to make a simple syrup?
If you aren’t familiar with the term, simple syrup is basically equal parts sugar and water heated until the sugar is dissolved.
I wondered if using simple syrup would somehow make it not a true old-fashioned. But a little research revealed recipes that use both methods. For the sake of ease, I have included instructions on making your own simple syrup below.
As for the orange peel, you want the very topmost layer – the orange part that contains the essential oils- rather than the bitter, white part. I used a vegetable peeler to slice off a few thin pieces. I would not suggest just peeling an entire orange and throwing the rind into the syrup.
I must warn you, if you aren’t used to drinking old fashioned’s – like me – this drink will put hair on your chest.
Figuratively, that is.
Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned
- ⅓ cup vanilla bean sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 2-3 orange peels
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean simple syrup
- 3 dashes bitters (Angostura)
- Ice cubes
- 2 ounces high-quality bourbon
- Vanilla bean for garnish (optional)
- Combine vanilla bean sugar, water, and orange peels in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir until sugar is completely dissolved, about five minutes.
- Remove syrup from the heat and allow to cool.
- You can choose to remove the orange peel at this point or leave it in for a stronger orange flavor.
- Combine simple syrup and bitter in the bottom of a glass.
- Add ice cubes.
- Pour bourbon over ice and stir to combine.
- Serve with a vanilla bean and additional orange slice if desired.