Lobo’s Paige Aubort makes us a Rum Old Fashioned


Rum Old Fashioned

60ml Diplomatico Reserva
Barspoon brown sugar syrup
5 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Stir down all ingredients with ice to chill and dilute the drink. Garnish with fresh orange peel — squeeze oils over the top and on the rim.

Story by Sam Bygrave
Photography by Christopher Pearce
Presented by Paige Aubort, The Lobo Plantation

I remember hearing about a drink called the Old Fashioned, just as we were coming out of the Dark Ages of bartending. It was around 2003, and we were deep in the swing of the stick drink craze — you know the drinks: take a mixing glass, grab a whole bunch of fruits and douse with sugar and muddle with vigour before finishing with a spirit.


This was before drinks specs were just a Google away, when recipes were things you found in books — or in Bartender magazine. We’d mastered the Manhattan, but then came along this older drink.

The first recipe I came across bathed the Old Fashioned in more mystique. This stripped back drink — just whiskey (it was bourbon for me then; rye whiskey was a long way from the popularity it enjoys today), sugar, bitters and ice, seemed simple enough, until it came to the preparation.

You had to have a cube of sugar — syrup or even a teaspoon wouldn’t do — and it took meticulous preparation: soak the sugar in bitters on a napkin over the glass, add a tiny hint of water to dissolve (tell me again why we’re not using syrup?), until it becomes a paste. Add a little whiskey, add a little ice, and stir. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.


Meanwhile the guest who ordered the drink is getting fed up. It’s almost five minutes since you started making it. In a high volume bar, this was not ideal.

It made a good drink, this method. But it was a pain in the ass. I didn’t like the Old Fashioned.

Thankfully we’ve lost some of those strictures since those days, and you can get a great Old Fashioned a little quicker (it helps that the bartenders these days know what they’re doing, too).

Sugar syrup is no longer verboten, thank goodness, because not only will your drink be quicker, it opens up the possibility of adding little flavour accents to the drink — like the brown sugar syrup the guys at The Lobo Plantation use in their Rum Old Fashioneds.

They should know — they were listed in the Top 10 for Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar award at the Spirited Awards this year.

So though the formulation dates back to the earliest days of the cocktail — when it was simply the Whiskey Cocktail — it always pays to rethink things.

You just might end up with as delicious a drink as this one at Lobo.

Notes on ingredients
Diplomatico Reserva is a Venezuelan rum, using rums distilled in both pot stills and column stills.

Diplomatico Reserva is then aged for up to eight years.

It pours a dark golden colour, has aromas of plum, oak, nuts and vanilla, with a great balance on the palate and a long finish.

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