Old Fashioned IBA Official Cocktail Type Cocktail Primary alcohol by volume Served On the rocks; poured over ice Standard garnish Standard drinkware Old Fashioned glass IBA specified ingredients* Preparation Place sugar cube in old fashioned glass and saturate with bitter, add a dash of soda water. Muddle until dissolved. Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey. Garnish with orange slice, lemon twist and two maraschino cherries. * Old Fashioned recipe at International Bartenders Association
The Old Fashioned is a type of cocktail made by muddling dissolved sugar with bitters then adding alcohol, such as jenever, whiskey, or brandy, and a twist of citrus rind. The name references the combination's age: it is possibly the first drink to be called a cocktail. It is traditionally served in a short, round, 8–12 US fl oz (240–350 ml) tumbler-like glass, which is called an Old Fashioned glass, named after the drink.
The first documented definition of the word "cocktail" was in response to a reader's letter asking to define the word in the May 6, 1806, issue of The Balance and Columbia Repository in Hudson, New York. In the May 13, 1806, issue, the paper's editor wrote that it was a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar; it was also referred to at the time as a bittered sling.
The first alleged use of the specific name "Old Fashioned" was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club, and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. The "Old Fashioned" was the favorite cocktail of President Harry S Truman and his wife Bess.
Preparation of a drink quite similar to an Old Fashioned is mentioned in chapter 18 in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), second paragraph.
There is great contention on the proper way to make an Old Fashioned. One of the earliest recipes, written in 1895, specifies the following: "Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger [1.5 fl oz or 44 ml] whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass."
David Embury's classic book published in 1948 provides a slight variation, also generally accepted among purists:
- 12 parts American whiskey
- 1 part simple syrup
- 1-3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Twist of lemon peel over the top, and serve garnished with the lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.
As with any recipe, many variations have been developed, and despite the purist's insistence on adhering to recipes written as long as a century ago, the "correct" way to make the drink is the way the customer prefers. Most modern cocktail recipe books call for Rye or Bourbon whiskey, and also include topping the drink with soda. A good bartender might ask, "Rye or Bourbon?" and, "top it with soda or water?"
Two additional recipes from the 1900s vary in the precise ingredients, but continue to omit the cherry expected in a modern Old Fashioned, as well as the top off of soda water contested by cocktail purists. Orange bitters were highly popular at this time and, for the second recipe, the Curaçao appears to have been added to increase the orange flavor
Use old-fashioned cocktail glass. Sugar, 1 lump. Seltzer, 1 dash, and crush sugar with muddler. Ice, one square piece. Orange bitters, 1 dash. Angostura bitters, 1 dash. Lemon peel, 1 piece. Whiskey, 1 jigger. Stir gently and serve with spoon.
1 dash Angostura bitters 1 dash Curaçao Piece of cut loaf sugar Dissolve in two spoonfuls of water 100% liquor as desired 1 piece ice in glass. Stir well and twist a piece of lemon peel on top and serve
Most modern recipes top off an Old Fashioned cocktail with soda water. An Old Fashioned "sweet" is mixed with a lemon-lime soda (like Sprite), whereas an Old Fashioned "sour" is made with a citrus-flavored beverage (like Squirt). Purists decry this practice, and insist that soda water is never permitted in a true Old Fashioned cocktail.
Many bartenders add fruit, typically an orange slice, and muddle it with the sugar before adding the whiskey. This practice likely began during the Prohibition era in the United States as a means of covering the bitter taste. Another explanation for the practice is that citrus is often used in place of bitters in areas where citrus fruit grows (such as Florida and California). Hence, the fresh San Diego old fashioned uses limes, lemons, oranges, and soda water rather than bitters and simple syrup. The drink may have been imported to California during World War II, when many Midwestern and Southern servicemen moved to San Diego, the site of a major Navy base.
Purists advocate using just enough plain water (called "branch" water) to fully dissolve the sugar without diluting the whiskey.
Bartenders often use a dissolved sugar-water premix called simple syrup, which is faster to use and eliminates the risk of leaving undissolved sugar in the drink, which can spoil a drinker's final sip. Others use only the juice of a maraschino cherry, along with the muddled and mangled cherry left at the bottom of the glass.
One popular garnish is a maraschino cherry fastened to the back of an orange wedge using a toothpick. Others prefer to use orange zest with the maraschino cherry. Some prefer a green olive garnish with an Old Fashioned "sour."
A popular variation in the Midwest is a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet, which involves muddling a maraschino cherry, a tsp. of sugar, an orange slice and a few dashes of bitters and filling with lemon-lime soda.
- ^ a b Wondrich, David (2007). Imbibe! From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to 'Professor' Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar – Featuring the Original Formulae for 100 Classic American Drinks and a Selection of New Drinks Contributed in His Honor by the Leading Mixologists of Our Time. Perigee. ISBN 978-0399532870.
- ^ "Raising a glass to the cocktail", Newsday article by Sylvia Carter, May 17, 2006. Newsday archive; Highbeam archive. Relevant paragraph quoted at ArtHistoryInfo.com
- ^ "Cocktail". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
- ^ Crockett, Albert Stevens (1935). The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.
- ^ Kappeler (1895). Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks.
- ^ Hess, Robert. "Renewing an Old Fashion". DrinkBoy.com. http://www.drinkboy.com/Articles/Article.aspx?itemid=20.
- ^ Checchini, Toby, "Case Study: The Old-Fashioned, Wisconsin Style", New York Times Style Magazine, September 22, 2009.
- Minnich, Jerry. "The brandy old-fashioned: Solving the mystery behind Wisconsin's real state drink". The Daily Page. Madison, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on 10 June 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050610075029/http://www.thedailypage.com/going-out/eats/news/managedit.php?intEatsNewsID=390. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Clarke, Paul (11 January 2009). "Are You Friends, After an Old Fashioned?". The New York Times. http://proof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/for-a-good-old-fashioned-inquire-within/. Retrieved 8 November 2011. - discusses internet forum debates among "home cocktail enthusiasts," using the Old Fashioned as a focal point.
- Simonson, Robert (2 June 2009). "Take a Sip of History". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/dining/03drink.html?_r=1&scp=10&sq=robert%20simonson%20cocktails&st=cse. Retrieved 8 November 2011. - about the resurgence of the Old Fashioned.
- Patterson, Troy (3 November 2011). "The Old-Fashioned". Slate. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/drink/2011/11/the_old_fashioned_a_complete_history_and_guide_to_this_classic_c.html. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
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