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Traditional Proof Syrup: Is it the Perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup?

by | Aug 13, 2022 | 2 comments

There’s nothing like a classic Old Fashioned. It’s perfectly balanced, delicious, and strong. A simple cocktail that packs complex flavors with minimal ingredients. Proof Syrup has set out to simplify the game, providing an all-but-the-booze approach to cocktail mixing.

Making an Old Fashioned with Proof’s Traditional syrup is easy because the best aromatic bitters and natural citrus oils are already included. Simply mix it with your favorite bourbon.

Does Proof’s version hold up to our favorite recipe, though?

Traditional Proof Syrup - Old Fashioned
Traditional Proof Syrup – Old Fashioned

Our Favorite Old Fashioned

Carl prefers a subtle twist on the classic, pre-prohibition Whiskey Cocktail: three ingredients, stirred and served the traditional way over a large ice cube:

  • 2 oz Bourbon or Rye
  • One demerara sugar cube
  • Three dashes of Angostura bitters

He uses a bar spoon of rich demerara syrup instead of raw sugar to avoid the grainy sugar texture and speed behind the bar. Finally, he adds an expressed orange peel for garnish and aromatics.

But, every bartender will list a different combination of whiskey, sugar, and bitters for their favorite cocktail version, making complicated something one can easily create at home. Because of this, we are intrigued by Proof’s all-in-one Old Fashioned cocktail mixer.

Could the Traditional flavor be the solution to making the craft cocktail at home?

History of Proof Cocktail Syrup

Like every innovation, Proof solves a problem. The creators wanted a fast and easy way to make an Old Fashioned in their Decatur, Georgia-based craft cocktail bar. So they found a way to put the drink’s components into one bottle. Just add your favorite aged spirit. 

This concoction became wildly popular with the bar’s patrons, and they decided to sell the syrup on its own. Customers loved it, and in 2014, the Proof Syrup brand released its first three flavors: Traditional, Maple Bacon Syrup, and Pecan Syrup. 

Today, Proof offers more than 20 different cocktail syrup flavors and even offers some bitters. They’ve grown but remain true to their roots by demanding a high-quality product using natural ingredients.

The Philosophy of Proof syrup

What does it mean to deliver the best to your customers? For Proof Syrup, it starts with high-quality ingredients, attention to detail, constant growth, and philanthropy. Their product uses the best, real ingredients available: the world’s best bitters, real citrus oils, organic cane sugar, and everything in between.

Freshness and natural ingredients are paramount. The syrups are then handcrafted in small batches in their hometown, Atlanta, Georgia.

“We’re firm believers that our customers deserve the best.”

Proof Syrup

For additional information about the company’s philosophy and philanthropic efforts, visit its website, Proof Syrup.

Proof Syrup Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail Mixer
$39.95 ($2.50 / Fl Oz)
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09/26/2023 03:25 am GMT

Tasting Notes of Proof Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup

Proof Syrup’s Traditional Old Fashioned taste is lighter than expected. We thought it would be bold and punchy, given it needs to hold its own against bourbon, which is strong in both ethanol and flavor.

But the mixture is light and almost delicate. It also isn’t as sweet as expected. We envisioned a more decadent quality, and the viscosity is unexpectedly thin. 

The overall flavor is well-balanced, though. The bitters provide a dominant clove presence that spreads nicely on the tongue, and the citrus oils are perfectly incorporated and proportional to the bitters.

Overall, the syrup is pleasant. It’s not too sweet, and none of the flavors dominates the others. Our only concern was whether or not it would be able to hold its own against a paired spirit. 

Cocktails Using Proof Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup

We tried four cocktails using different base spirits to get a good picture of the Proof cocktail syrup and its application in mixed drinks. The recipes came from the Proof website because they know their ingredients the best.

3 cocktails using Proof Syrup
3 Cocktails Using Proof Syrup

Perfect Old Fashioned

Recipe:

  1. Add both ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Stir for 25 – 30 seconds.
  4. Strain over a large cube of ice into a double rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with the orange peel.

Our Tasting Notes of the Perfect Old Fashioned

Well, the Perfect Old Fashioned isn’t perfect. As we feared, the flavors of the Traditional syrup get lost behind the strength of the whiskey. The sweet clove notes rounded out the rough edges, making the drink slightly more sippable than drinking Makers Mark on a rock.

Perfect Old Fashioned
Perfect Old Fashioned

We had a Catch-22: We could add more syrup, but the drink would be too sweet. Then we’d have to use less syrup… It wasn’t a bad Old Fashioned, but we think it needed added bitters.

Cognac Old Fashioned

Recipe:

  1. Add both ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Stir for 25 – 30 seconds.
  4. Strain over a large cube of ice in a double rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with orange peel.

Our Tasting Notes of the cognac Old Fashioned

The Cognac Old Fashioned was probably our favorite drink made with the Traditional Proof Syrup. It was balanced, sweet, and strong.

The clove and orange notes enhanced the vanilla essence of the cognac. However, we had the same problem with cognac as with bourbon. The alcohol reduced the mixer’s contribution to a whisper.

We would have liked more of the spice notes and citrus oil to shine through and provide a spiced vanilla warmth and counter the sweetness. 

Bittersweet Symphony

Recipe:

ingredients of bittersweet symphony
Ingredients of Bittersweet Symphony
  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice
  3. Stir for 25 – 30 seconds
  4. Strain into a coupe glass or Nick and Nora
  5. Garnish with orange peel

Our Tasting Notes of the Bittersweet Symphony

One look at this recipe after tasting the Traditional Old Fashioned Proof Syrup was all we needed to know two things about it:

  1.  This cocktail is going to be good.
  2. Using specialty syrup to make it is a waste of money.
bittersweet symphony cocktail
Bittersweet Symphony Cocktail

The Bittersweet Symphony cocktail employs three ingredients with BIG, BOLD flavors. Proof’s Traditional syrup is no match for Campari’s bitterness, Cynar’s herbaceousness, or gin’s botanicals individually.

With the three combined, the syrup didn’t stand a chance. The cocktail was good. We don’t think it’s worth using an expensive syrup when a $2 homemade simple syrup would do.

It’s a Dry Heat

Recipe:

  • 1.5 oz. Reposado Tequila
  • .5 oz. Traditional Proof syrup
  • .75 oz. Ancho Reyes Verde Chile Poblano Liqueur
  • Orange Peel to Garnish
ingredients of its a dry heat
Ingredients of It’s a Dry Heat
  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Stir for 25 – 30 seconds.
  4. Strain over a large cube of ice in a double rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with orange peel.

Our Tasting Notes of the It’s a Dry heat

This one was polarizing. We both agreed it would taste better with lime juice and tacos. The vegetal poblano of the Ancho Reyes was the stand-out flavor in the drink, but we were surprised by how it enhanced the clove and citrus of the Proof Traditional syrup.

its a dry heat cocktail
It’s a Dry Heat

They weren’t overwhelming or even powerful but more recognizable here than in previous drinks. I didn’t think they meshed with the bright green contribution of the poblano chile liqueur, but Carl enjoyed it. I would substitute agave syrup.

Final Thoughts: Is Proof Traditional Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup Worth It?

We didn’t have a lousy cocktail made with Proof Traditional Syrup. A few left something to be desired, but the easy, homemade craft cocktails were enjoyable overall.

If you’re on vacation and want to reduce the number of items you’re carrying, or if you don’t want to go through the effort of making your own syrups, Proof is a good choice. The company makes a solid, easy-to-use product that has a nice flavor. You just might have to tweak your recipes a bit for your desired tastes. 

The only downside we found is the product’s price tag. On their website, the Proof products go for $29.95 for a 16 oz. bottle, or you can get a set of five 4 oz. mini bottles for $59.95. The price tag of the Traditional Proof Syrup seems a little steep, despite how good it tastes on its own.

We would still prefer to use homemade demerara syrup and bitters in ratios we can control. But they have many more options, including offerings that would be more challenging to make at home and might be worth the money.

Other Flavors

We can’t wait to try all the high-quality cocktail syrups Proof offers. They include natural flavors for every season and every type of cocktail:

  • Orange
  • Black Walnut
  • Pecan
  • Maple Bacon
  • Citrus Sour
  • White Peach
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Hibiscus
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Compassion Fruit
  • Manhattan
  • Margarita
  • Class Grenadine
  • Pumpkin

Have you tried any of these syrups? Let us know what you think!

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2 Comments

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