The Old Fashioned
The Original Cocktail?
I have always believed that every mixoligist, whether inspiring or professional needs to possess an eclectic library of books on the subject.
I have recently added The Old Fashion An Essential Guide to the Original Whiskey Cocktail, by Albert W. A. Schmid to my personal library.
The myth surrounding the Old Fashion is one that, well legends are made of. Schmid has mixed together a story that can only be described as fitting for not only in his words, the “first cocktail”, but also fitting given the Old Fashion is one of the six basic cocktails as per David Embury and The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
The story goes, the term cocktail dates to the late 18th century New York. Upon concocting a drink made with rye, bitters, sugar, water the bartender discovered he had no wooden stir stick he garnished the drink with a rooster feather and the “cocktail” was born.
Schmid in his book claims that although the original cocktail was made with Rye by the time the drink was being served in Kentucky’s Bourbon country with Bourbon it was more than 75 years old, thus “Old Fashioned.”
Schmid also makes an interesting claim that the Old Fashioned was also the original “Hair of the Dog” as in the beginning a cocktail that was consumed in the morning.
“even if the Old Fashioned was not specifically designed to treat a hangover its creator included everything needed to do so; the whiskey helps to take the edge off, the sugar helps raise blood sugar, the bitters settle the stomach and the citrus peel adds a pleasant aroma.”
No matter what your take on the “Original Cocktail” you need to try an Old Fashioned at least once as it is truly an excellent drink. Oh and pick up a copy of Schmid's book as you will not be disappointed.
My Old Fashioned Recipe
In a sturdy bottom glass muddle 2 sugar cubes covered with warm water, a thick orange slice and a few dashes of bitters.
Fill the glass half with ice and 2 to 3 ounces of Whiskey.
Stir and strain into a cocktail or old fashioned glass
Garnish with a thick orange slice.