There's a reason the Old Fashioned is a classic. The balance of flavors that comes from a simple combination of complex ingredients means that, when well-made, it always satisfies. In general, I like to make a very basic version, playing with ratios of water to sugar and bitters to whiskey. I'll use bourbon, rye, Scotch, even Irish Whiskey, as I seek new perspectives on a familiar profile.

For the purposes of this discussion, I decided to push the envelope a little while still remaining true to the drink's basic nature. After a little experimentation, I came up with the following recipe:

2 Tsp. Peppered Citrus Maple Syrup (see recipe below)
Several shakes Angostura Bitters
Generous strip of Orange Rind
2 Oz. Bourbon or other Whiskey
One large ice cube or sphere

Peppered Citrus Maple Syrup
Combine in a small pot:
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Water
1 Tbs. Black Peppercorns
Rinds of 2 Clementines
1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger


Bring to a boil while stirring and then let simmer for 5 minutes
Strain out solids and refrigerate in a glass jar

To Make One Drink: Place syrup in a rocks glass. Add bitters and stir. Gently roll and unroll orange rind to express some oils, place in glass and coat with syrup mixture. Add ice cube and stir, coating ice and cooling syrup mixture. Add whiskey and stir carefully to combine ingredients. Note: you'll have enough syrup for at least two drinks so make one for a friend!