Alibi V.29 No.34 • Aug 20-26, 2020 

Cocktail Culture

A Classic Revisited

The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned
The most classic of classic cocktails
Clarke Condé

Back East there are towns named puzzling things like “Old Lyme” and “Old Saybrook” that resulted from people living there, moving someplace nearby, naming the new place the name of their former town and then simply adding the word “old” to the previous location. I can understand moving to a new place and calling that place a new version of something old like “New Mexico,” but this renaming the old place “old” just seems silly.

That said, this week’s cocktail similarly lacks creativity in naming, but makes up for it by being really tasty. Its name is more of a description like “Old Town,” indicating that’s where the town once was, not that it was once called “Town.” The “Old Fashioned” is a name that indicates that is how we once made cocktails; it is an old-fashioned cocktail. Now that we have that sorted out, let’s get to work making a drink.

1 sugar cube

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

3 oz rye whiskey

A twist of orange

Ice

There are so many options with an Old Fashioned, but the basics go like this: Drop a sugar cube into a rocks glass and add two dashes of bitters. Muddle (fancy bar talk for crush) the cube and cover with whiskey. Rye is a good choice because it blends well with the orange, but bourbon won’t disappoint. Add ice. Next, slice off a bit of orange peel. Hold it an inch of so above a lit match and squeeze toward the cocktail glass. The tiny droplets of citric acid expelled will ignite, infusing a smokey taste into your Old Fashioned. Feel free to toast the peel briefly in the flame and toss it into the glass as well. Some may suggest Maraschino cherries as a garnish, but that just masks the qualities of the rye in my opinion. Unless you are using a low-quality whiskey, leave the cherries out. If you are using a low-quality whiskey, don’t. That is a mistake that is both predictable and avoidable.