The small bottle holds several drinks—just pour over ice. (photo by Jenny Gorman for Wine and Whiskey Globe)

Probably the main worry I’ve had about pre-made cocktails is fretting over the base spirit. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of good, unbranded hooch out there; it’s just that lots of labels simply say “premium” whatever, and leave it at that. I like to know more than that.

So I was pleased recently to be gifted a bottle of pre-made Old Fashioned, deploying Knob Creek. That bourbon has been a reliable go-to aperitif for me—a down-the-middle Kentucky product with some punch.

I see the utility of pre-made drinks, of course. Someone undoubtedly smarter than me has spent time polishing the proportions. They are shelf-stable. They are super portable. There’s lots to appreciate.

It’s just that I actually like making drinks. Setting out the ingredients and glassware. Checking the ice, slicing the fruit, stabbing the olives. For me, the pre-made versions taketh away from the whole experience as much as they giveth.

Still, this Old Fashioned from the On the Rocks company, a Beam Suntory division, really did make for a fun happy hour. It comes in a handsome little 375ml bottle, and you could show up at a friend’s place for a socially distanced chat and eliminate a lot of fuss. “Staying true to the original recipe,” the label reads, “we keep our Old Fashioned strong and simple using a generous pour of Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey, bitters, cane sugar, orange, cherry, and lemon zest.” Who could argue with that?

This version presents somewhat sweeter than what I would concoct, myself—it leans into its cherry and sugar a bit—but it is undeniably balanced. Crowd-pleasingly so, I’d venture. With a little time in the glass, and a touch of ice melt, the sweetness faded a bit, bringing citrus and spirit forward in the mix. The pleasure of having the drink already made cannot be said to be old fashioned—more like newfangled—but it’ll get your weekend off to a fine start.