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Collection: Old Fashioned Cocktails

The Old Fashioned's enduring charm comes not only from its rich taste but also from its fascinating history. Rooted in the earliest days of cocktail bartending, the cocktail has survived various cultural shifts and preferences, maintaining its place in the pantheon of classic drinks. As we explore its intriguing past, recipe variations, and the people who've contributed to its legacy, it becomes apparent that this simple yet sophisticated drink is truly an emblem of cocktail culture.

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The Old Fashioned, a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time, continues to be a popular choice for mixologists and enthusiasts alike. Its origin dates back to the 19th century when cocktails were commonly made with a few simple ingredients, such as sugar, bitters, water, and a choice of spirit. Over the years, the Old Fashioned underwent several transformations, yet its essence remained unaltered.

HISTORY OF THE OLD FASHONED

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has a rich and storied history, dating back to the early 19th century. Originating in the United States, this timeless drink has evolved and adapted through various eras, yet its essence remains the same – a simple and delicious blend of spirits, sugar, and bitters.

As early as 1806, the term "cocktail" appeared in print, referring to a mixed drink of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The Old Fashioned can be considered a cocktail in its purest form, with its combination of ingredients aligning closely with this original definition. Although the exact origins of the drink are uncertain, many attribute the creation of the Old Fashioned to the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky. It is believed that the club's bartender, in the late 19th century, developed the recipe as a way to enhance the flavour of inferior spirits during a time when quality whiskey was scarce.

During Prohibition in the United States, the Old Fashioned took on a new level of prominence. Faced with the challenge of masking the harsh taste of bootlegged spirits, bartenders began experimenting with variations of the classic cocktail. It was during this time that the Old Fashioned's connection to New York's prestigious Waldorf-Astoria hotel was forged.

In this period, the drink's recipe began to vary, with some bartenders adding fruit, such as oranges and cherries, to the mix. However, as Prohibition ended, many cocktail enthusiasts looked to return to the original simplicity of the Old Fashioned.

The recipe for an Old Fashioned is as follows:

  1. - 2 oz whiskey (typically bourbon or rye)
  2. - 1 sugar cube or 1/2 tsp sugar
  3. - 2 dashes of bitters
  4. - A splash of water or soda
  5. - A strip of citrus peel (typically orange) for garnish
  6.  

In conclusion, the Old Fashioned has withstood the test of time, remaining a staple in the world of cocktails. Its history is intertwined with American culture, reflecting the nation's shifting tastes and evolving spirit preferences. As a testament to its enduring appeal, the Old Fashioned continues to be enjoyed by cocktail connoisseurs and novices alike, bridging the gap between the past and the present.

BASICS OF AN OLD FASHIONED

Components

The Old Fashioned is a timeless and classic cocktail with a spirit-forward profile. It traditionally consists of the following key ingredients:

  • - Spirit: bourbon or whiskey, sometimes substituted with brandy
  • - Sweetener: sugar cube or simple syrup
  • - Bitters: angostura bitters
  • - Water: a splash or a few drops, often used to dissolve the sugar
  • - Ice: ice cubes or a single large ice cube
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Preparation Method

The preparation of an Old Fashioned is simple and easy to master. Follow these steps:

  1. 1. Muddle: Place sugar in a rocks glass. Add a few dashes of bitters and a small amount of water. Muddle together until sugar is dissolved.
  2. 2. Add ice: Fill the glass with ice cubes or a single large ice cube.
  3. Pour in spirit: Measure the desired amount of bourbon or whiskey (typically 2 oz) using a jigger, and pour it over the ice.
  4. 3. Stir: Gently stir the cocktail to combine the ingredients and chill the drink.
  5. 4. Garnish: Optional but common garnishes include an expressed citrus peel (usually orange) and a cherry.

 

Of course, there's no need for additional ingredients or processes with our Old Fashioned, simply add ice, stir and garnish.

Glassware Used

The Old Fashioned is served in a rocks glass, also known as an old-fashioned glass or lowball glass. This specific glassware allows for the perfect presentation of the drink, showing off its rich colour and allowing for easy sipping.

A well-prepared Old Fashioned is an essential drink in any mixologist's cocktail kit, offering a balance of flavours that is both sophisticated and enjoyable. The simplicity of its recipe and its distinguished history make it a popular choice among many cocktail enthusiasts across the globe.

GARNISHING THE OLD FASHIONED

Garnishing an Old Fashioned is key to elevate its visual appeal and enhance its flavour profile. There are a variety of popular garnishes that are suitable for this classic cocktail, each tailored to suit the nuanced preferences of drinkers. In this section, we will explore the best garnishing options to suit diverse tastes.

One of the most common garnishes for an Old Fashioned is the maraschino cherry. The sweet, glazed cherries add a stunning contrast to the rich, amber hues of the drink. To achieve the best effect, consider using:

  • - A single cherry for simplicity
  • - A cocktail pick with 2-3 cherries for a more elaborate presentation
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Alongside cherries, using an orange slice or an orange twist is customary in an Old Fashioned. These fruity garnishes contribute a burst of colour and a delightful hint of citrus zest. They can be used alone or in combination with cherries. It is essential to know how to prepare each fruit garnish type:

  1. 1. Orange slice: Cut a fresh orange into round, thin slices and place it on the rim of the glass or inside the drink.
  2. 2. Orange twist: Use a paring knife or a peeler to remove a thin strip of orange peel, avoiding the bitter white pith. Twist the peel over the drink to release its oils, and then drape it artfully on the rim.

 

To intensify the orange flavour, adding a few drops of orange bitters can provide a subtle, yet striking contrast to the sweetness of the sugar and maraschino cherry. This addition also creates a delightful, harmonious balance of flavours in an Old Fashioned.

Another option for a citrusy garnish is using lemon zest or orange zest. These zests impart a distinct and delicate citrus aroma to the drink, while also giving a touch of finesse to its appearance. To achieve a zesty garnish, use a fine grater or zester to remove the aromatic peel, placing it atop the drink on its slightly wet surface.

In conclusion, there are numerous ways to garnish an Old Fashioned, each catering to a range of taste preferences. From maraschino cherries and orange slices, to zesty twists and aromatic bitters, selecting the ideal garnish is crucial for crafting the perfect Old Fashioned experience.

The allure of the Old Fashioned stems from its simplicity and versatility. Traditionally made with bourbon or rye whiskey, the cocktail's enduring popularity has encouraged bartenders to experiment with different spirits, such as rum, tequila, and brandy. Despite these modifications, the timeless combination of its base ingredients creates a balanced, elegant flavour experience that resonates with many palates.