An iconic drink that has stood the test of time
So…how old is the old fashioned? The old fashioned is as old as ice in bars.
Think about that for a moment, and let that sink in like a cherry in your drink. How old is ice in bars? Well, that’s a whole story on its own, however, the old fashioned has been talked about in one form or another since the beginning of the 19th century. The first appearance of this classic cocktail was in the Balance and Columbian Repository newspaper in 1806 as such: “A stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.”
When you follow these instructions, put this finely-crafted cocktail into your hand, swirl around the ice, gaze through the caramel-coloured liquid in the glass and contemplate all that has gone into it, you can rest assured you are holding a drink that has delighted taste buds for generations.
But the old fashioned has not always been held in high regard. There was a time not too long ago when this fine concoction was an unbalanced, fruity, watered-down pale imitation of itself. More recently, there has been a renaissance involved with this invigorating intoxicant, and you can (and should) expect a proper cocktail when it is ordered at a fine establishment.
When this drink is properly prepared, it should be in perfectbalance (as any proper drink should be). The sweetness of the sugar should not cover the flavour of the bourbon, and the bitters should add to or overpower the flavour of the whiskey. When the old fashioned is well made, it is as close to cocktail perfection as a sophisticated patron could expect. Befriend a bespoke barkeep at an upstanding establishment, and you will be in trusted hands. If you find yourself at home and wanting for a nightcap, look no further than the old fashioned. Enjoy, friends.