Visit the new home of Old Fashioned Week at Woodford Reserve

5 Tips from Rudolf de Vos of The House of Machines, Cape Town

By Forest Collins

In our ongoing efforts to explore and exploit the infinite possibilities of the Old Fashioned, we took at look at how it’s approached on a global scale and turned our sights south… all the way to Cape Town, South Africa to see what tips we’d get from Rudi de Vos of The House of Machines.

Rudi has been bartending in Cape Town for about three and a half years. He started in the mobilve events industry and worked his way up to being a trainer at a bar school. He eventually moved to full-time bartending at such establishments as Orphanage Cocktail Emporium and the tiki bar The Polynesian Pearl Diver. Finally, he came to his current post behind the bar at The House of Machines.

He’s a hardworking barman, having made the top 5 nationals in World Class competition 2017 and recently winning the nationals for Havana Club Grand Prix, which meant he spent some time in Cuba. And thanks to his hard work, The House of Machines was also nominated in the “best high volume cocktail bar” category for Cape Town’s bar awards.

Rudi loves getting creative with the Old Fashioned and working them into the bar barrel aging program with a special approach for each type of spirit.

His top five tips :

  1. Change up the preparation : Taking the pure classic Old Fashioned, you can deliver it in so many ways. Not only does the old fashioned need to be stirred over ice, but you can also throw/roll the cocktail to mix ingredients and add theater to your creation.
  2. Change up the ingredients : When it comes to the actual cocktail ingredients, there are so many variations that work marvelously! For instance creating different syrups for your drink with different ingredients and flavors or mixing with exciting, homemade bitters changes the whole game.
  3. Change up the garnish : What I’ve recently also added to our Old Fashioned is an hydrosol for the “zests” instead of using citrus twists.
  4. Use the best ice : The ice that you serve with it is very important. For instance, we only use big clear blocks for our rocks drinks like the Old Fashioned.
  5. Consider your glassware : Glassware also plays a big part, and it’s important to consider if you are serving drinks with negative spacing or serving full glasses to your guests.

Havana Club Old Fashioned

Havana Club
Old Fashioned

All ingredients poured over ice in the following order in rocks glass:

  • 1 barspoon muscavado agave syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura orange bitters
  • 2 dash Angostura Aromatic bitters
  • 60 ml Havana Club 7yo rum

Stirred down, poured over big block of ice in rocks glass and garnished with orange hydrosol.

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