Unexpected flavors go well with this classic drink. 

When it comes to classic cocktails, the Old Fashioned lives up to its name. Made with bourbon, sugar, Angostura bitters, and a garnish of orange (either a strip of rind or a wheel) and a cherry, it has become a staple on bar menus across the country since it was invented in the early 1800s.

With a deep sweetness and slightly smoky flavor balanced by the brightness of citrus, it can be a bit baffling to pair food with. Salty, sharp, or nutty profiles can cut the sugary element of the drink and provide a complimentary counterpoint to the bourbon notes, especially if it’s made with a spicier rye whiskey.

Here are five foods to have with an Old Fashioned.

1. Spiced Pecans

This native nut of the South brings out the more complex notes of the bourbon while the spicy and sweet seasoning accentuate the citrus and cherry’s true tastes. Try pecans with a coating of cayenne pepper, brown sugar, rosemary, and sea salt.

2. Thick-Cut Pork Chops

For a main entree that helps transition an Old Fashioned from h'orderves to the dinner table, a thick-cut rib chop with a drizzle of syrupy balsamic provides a savory and tangy background that tames a cocktail’s sugar quotient.

3. Duck

The same way this bird is famously known as a mate to orange, it also pairs perfectly with an Old Fashioned, which softens the gameyness of the duck, while the cherry and citrus bring out its unctuous sweetness.

4. Chocolate Chess Pie

Many bourbons have secret chocolate hues waiting to be unlocked by just the right pairing. A slice of Southern-style chocolate chess pie does just that without the same heaviness of cake.

5. Bacon-Wrapped Figs

For a fancy yet fuss-free appetizer, we love bacon-wrapped figs, especially with goat cheese stuffed in the center. An old fashioned plays well with the smoky bacon, complex sweetness of the figs, and the tangy-tart cheese.

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