An Old Fashioned Kinda Post

July 7, 2009

The Old Fashioned

A true thing of beauty.

Versatile, simple, elegant, and strong. Very, very strong.

Stories abound regards its history. Varying from the plausible to the distinctly implausible. One thing is clear however, the old fashioned is one of, and quite probably THE, oldest cocktail recorded in history.

Articles on the topic are dime-a-dozen all over the internet, so I hardly need to revisit it all again. However I encourage you to read up on the subject here and here and their subsequent links.

The recipe I tend to adhere to is as follows:

50ml Bourbon
5ml Grand Marnier
2 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Orange Bitters
1 Orange Rind
1 Small Lemon Zest
1 Sugar Cube
1 1cm cubed sugar cube

Cover the top of an old fashioned rocks glass with a napkin and place the sugar cube on top of it (this is done to prevent excess bitters form spoiling the taste of the drink).Dash bitters on to the sugar and then remove napkin allowing sugar cube to drop into base of glass. Add Grand Marnier and muddle sugar cube into a paste. Add orange and lemon to base of glass and continue to muddle to release the fruit oils. Add a single cube of ice and stir to dilute paste. Add initial portion of bourbon to the glass and stir, adding 2-3 ice cubes at intervals, and then another 10ml portion of bourbon. Continue as so until glass is approaching full. This process should take between 8-12 minutes and no less. Twist an orange zest over the top of drink to coat top with citrus oils and serve immediately. The resulting drink should be on the verge of perfect dilution, allowing the drinks taste to hit perfection just as the initial sips are being made. Garnish is entirely personal choice however I traditionally add a single lemon zest to the top, curled.

Notes. Subtle yet overpowering. The dilution is key to bringing out the hidden textures of the bourbon base and the bitters floral undertones. Fruit and citrus is present throughout the drink. Ending on a long-lasting earthy taste from the whiskey.

Hard to make perfect. Even for the experienced bartender a simple drop too much of any ingredient can spoil the entire complex mixture. Badly made, it is second to none in how to ruin a good whiskey. Well made, few can argue with its perfection.

Discrepancies inherently lie with every bartender in how to build this drink. However, I have found the above to be the most crowd pleasing and satisfying of the many alternatives.

Variations are numerous. The build inherently bringing out the subtleties of any base spirit, I have seen great alternatives using all manner of spirit, varyubg from the logical using rum, to the obscure, using 80 proof liquors such as patron xo cafe.

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