The Old Fashioned : : Cocktail of the Week

Ingredients:

  • 45ml Thomson Two Tone Whisky
  • 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • Drizzle of Club Soda
  • Orange
  • Ice

Instructions:

  • Put a sugar cube at the bottom of a rocks glass.
  • Drizzle with the slightest bit of club soda.
  • Add 2 dashes of bitters.
  • Muddle the sugar cube hard to crush it, and stir away in order to mix up all the ingredients currently in the glass. There should now be a deep blood orange coloured residue at the bottom of the glass.
  • Add a few ice cubes into the glass along with 15ml’s of Thomson, and stir away for a good 15 seconds.
  • Repeat this last step, adding a little more ice, an extra 15 mls whisky and stirring.
  • Add ice to fill the glass and add the last remaining 15mls of whisky, then stir accordingly (another 15ish seconds).
  • Slice your orange peel and twist it 'round before wrenching it over the glass, as if to get out the juices (there are actually the smallest amount of oils that go unnoticed to the human eye, but not to the taste buds).
  • Rub the orange zest around the lip of the glass and place delicately on the top as a garnish.
  • Voila.

 

 

Backstory:

The Old Fashioned is often considered the first of all cocktails; the Adam and Eve, if you will, that started it all. Now, I don't want you to imagine two whisky filled glasses, bumping uglies and making little drink babies, but I kinda do. Known for taking an age to make, and requiring a chunky wallet to afford, you will definitely be underwhelmed by its appearance. But I swear on my stupidly obsessive record collection (now that’s a big deal for me), it’s well freaking worth it.

 

A simple concoction of bourbon, sugar, bitters, maybe a dash of soda, and an orange peel shouldn't really be as god damn delicious as this drink is. But the limited ingredient list means that every drop, grind, peel or cube that’s in there has its place, and reason. Definitely take your time with this one, because it’s not supposed to be rushed when constructed or consumed.

 

If you're at the local waterhole, make sure you choose an attractive/chatty looking bartender, or this could be quite easily the most awkward 5 minutes of your life. You will be left sitting there, staring at their busy hands for an uncomfortably long time if there isn't a little bit of conversation involved. The perfect Old Fashioned comes almost entirely down to the method. In the same way that money can't buy you class, a step-by-step won't get you the soul of the drink - you've got to experiment to find that yourself.

 

This is not a drink, this is a ritual.

 

The original definition of the word ‘cocktail’ was a drink that consisted of spirits, bitters, sugar and split (commonly known as “mixer”). Around the early 1800’s, this Old Fashioned was documented as a ‘bittered sling’, and over the years many have felt the strange need to tamper and adjust this simply majestic recipe. There are known editions of the Old Fashioned using absinthe instead of whisky, whole oranges and other fruits, but none of these quite live up to the original.

 

The typical origin story is that the ‘Old Fashioned’ was born out of the Pendennis Club, a Gentleman's club in Louisville, Kentucky. However, the first documented statement of the name ‘Old Fashioned’ comes from a book written by George J. Kappeler, called Modern American Drinks (1895), where he states;

 

“Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey glass; add 2 dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.”

 

This cocktail should always be done by memory, because, like the first pancake rule, you never get it right the first time. Take your time and actually think about everything - believe me, you couldn't be too fussy if you tried.

 

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