Cocktail Time

Where it all began

Hello and welcome to a brand new (hopefully weekly) column focussing in on a different cocktail every week.

In this inaugural edition, it seems only fitting that we commence with the most classic of classic cocktails, the oldest of the old, the true essence of what it is to be a cocktail: the Old Fashioned.

Many of you may have heard of this drink, be it from Mad Men or not, and may know its lofty status as ‘the first ever cocktail’. The first definition of ‘cocktail’ appeared in 1806 in a magazine called The Balance and Columbian Repository, saying it is a ‘potent concoction’ of spirits, bitters, water, sugar. Think of almost any cocktail, and these four elements will be there.

If we take a look at the ingredients of the OF (as known amongst the aficionados), we see that the simple mix of whiskey (with an e as usually American), Angostura bitters, a sugar cube and ice shows that the primitive 1806 definition of the cocktail is the recipe for an Old Fashioned.

These days, the Old Fashioned has retained its long-standing popularity, a drink for both the Don Drapers of the world, the wannabe hipsters and everyone in between. It promotes a suave, confident image when in the right hands, and a braggadocious or pathetic need to show off in others. Either way, it is delicious.

This is my way of making it, but it is by no means the only way.

First, in a short ‘rocks’ glass place a sugar cube and soak in 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and 2 dashes of orange bitters (I like Regan’s). Add a splash of soda water and muddle to dissolve the sugar.

Then the important part, add a generous pour of around 60ml of a nice high proof Bourbon and place a fair bit of ice in the glass. Stir for around 15-20s. Remember, with ice the bigger the better: dilutes slower, looks cooler.

Garnish with both an orange and lemon twist, aka ‘bunny ears’ and enjoy.

Here’s one I made earlier, but when I had run out of lemons.

Try it for yourself, order it at a bar, buy nice whiskey only to waste it on pres, it’s your choice.



Image credits: Pixabay on, Miguel Padrinan on, Jan Laugesen on

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