It’s been a long time, has it not? I haven’t been completely absent for the last 4 months, but it has still felt strange not writing these TIPS every week. I missed all of you lushes. It’s nice to be back. I must admit, I know that this will be a tease, and though I am not responsible for it, I will apologize in advance. The truth is, by the end of the month the new episodes will be over and you'll have to wait another 3 months for more. I’m not happy about that but at the same time I suppose it’s better to have 3 episodes now than having zero episodes till January. So though a tease it may be, it is a tease that I welcome.
Let’s get to this shit.
Many times throughout last season I listed off cocktails that called for being served in a short glass, that I sometimes referred to as an “Old Fashioned Glass”. Calling a piece of bar-ware by this name presumes a few things, most importantly, that you know what an Old Fashioned is, and thus, the kind of glass is should be served in. Once you get past that you move onto the most important question: Why are there so many gawdamn variations on the Old Fashioned recipe?
The oldest known recipe for the old fashioned is as follows:
"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 whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass."
Translated out of “old-timey” and into modern English, the recipe goes like this:
- 1 1/2 oz whiskey
- Two dashes Angostura Bitters
- One cube sugar
Place sugar cube in the bottom of a rocks glass, dash angostura on top to coat, add a very small splash of water and muddle this till the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add whiskey and ice and gently stir. Squeeze a lemon peel over the top and toss into the glass. Serve.
A BRIEF AND INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF THIS SHIT
The term 'cocktail' arose sometime around 1805 (at least in print). The term was defined as “a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar.” Sound familiar? All I’m trying to say is that the Old Fashioned was likely one of the very first cocktails to ever be named as such. And it should be noted that the name Old Fashioned is not some recent development because of how old the recipe is. This bitch was old even in 1805. It is so old, that in its hey-day, (the mid to late 19th century), it was so popular, that the low ball tumbler it was served in, became forever known as an “old fashioned glass”.
The first alleged use of the term "Old Fashioned" was for a bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe was supposedly invented by a bartender and popularized by a bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
Mostly likely the result of prohibition, the original concept of the old fashioned was, by necessity, bastardized for a period. If you had to mix your drinks with whiskey that was stilled out of an old radiator, you probably would have put some extra sugar and fruit into your drink too. Thus, after prohibition ended, a lot of variations of the recipe began to surface. Some of them use brandy instead of whiskey (Wisconsin style), some use muddled fruit instead of bitters (San Diego Style), and some get garnished with cherries, or orange slices, or all sorts of other shit. All have their own historical logic and perhaps their own merit, and I’m sure they taste wonderful to some people. However, regardless of what some bartender in Madison, Wisconsin tells you, the original Old Fashioned only used whiskey, sugar and bitters and if possible, you should try it that way too.
If you can’t find any bitters......well, wing it.
Make it Archer style.