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
Vanilla bean simple syrup:
- 1/3 cup vanilla bean sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 2-3 orange peels
Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned:
- 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.