Rum Old Fashioned. Photo by me.

Rum Old Fashioned. Photo by me.

Taking up part-time residence in New York City last month, I was delighted to meet a downstairs neighbor, Tobin Ludwig, who makes the lovely Hella Bitters. What good karma for our new old building!

“What is your favorite use of bitters?” I asked. For someone who makes bitters, he struggled. I pushed. He relented and said, “A rum old fashioned.”

What a splendid idea, I thought.

Last night a tweet asked me for a cocktail with a good rum. And so there it was. The rum old-fashioned called. The weather has cooled, I have some most excellent rum, and the sweetness and the bitters combine for a great summer rum cocktail.

But lo—there was more, karma-wise. I returned to my original old-fashioned post and noticed that I’d used Hella bitters, long before I’d met Tobin! So this completes the circle, a cocktail destined for the Friday Cocktail Hour.

I suppose I’ll need to replenish my supply of Hella bitters!

Happy Friday all!

rum old 2a


The Rum Old Fashioned

  • 4 to 6 grams sugar (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 4 to 6 grams bitters (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 60 grams good rum (2 ounces)
  • Lemon
  1. Place the sugar and bitters in a rocks glass and muddle and stir to get the sugar dissolving.
  2. Add the rum and stir.
  3. Add ice and a squeeze of lemon (or a twist or orange zest).

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.



17 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Rum Old Fashioned”

  • Allen

    Manhattan and Negroni are where most of my bitters go, I have a large supply from Brad Thomas Parons book,
    And a good one from called cherry vanilla bitters.

    You should get gifts of bitters from your new neighbor, suck up to them with some homemade bacon or some aged eggnog.

    I’ll bet they reciprocate with some bitters.

    Hella bacon.

    Hell yeah!

  • MP Wall

    I have had a lot of Brugal in the Dominican Republic, but never seen the 1888. Is it a special release or just not widely released? MPW

  • Allen

    Hella bitters site has some great recipes and cool little bottles. Start a bacon for bitters campaign, seems reasonable.

    That picture screws with my vision when I look at the weave on tray. Too many tinis… Focker out

  • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes

    Interesting drink. I love a good old fashioned, even posted a cake based on it, but never had a rum one. Is it a new thing? Nowadays ingredient substitution in classic recipes is all the rage


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  • Carolyn Z

    My favorite auntie used to drink an old-fashioned or two. She, like my husband, turned red because they can’t digest the alcohol. She really liked them. She also made a mean chocolate zucchini bread, much to the chagrin of my two cousins. Made childhood delicious.

  • Charles Curran

    My favorite bitters is “Peychaud’s’. I would highly recommend it.

  • Trey

    Tried this idea with zaya rum. Killer!
    Surprised I haven’t seen the caprioska or caprinha in this summers hour rotation..


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