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The Old Fashioned Cocktail: The Topic


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#301 slkinsey

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:43 AM

That's what happens when I post too hastily. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I don't question that it might be a useful way to specify that one is talking about the original cocktail formulation(s). So long as we acknowledge that it's an artificial distinction that we are making in this thread. And that it doesn't (as yet, anyway) have any real meaning outside of this kind of small-group slang use.

Imagine that we were talking about basketball instead of cocktails. And that some people had found it useful to call it "basket-ball" when describing the era before the 1955 adoption of the 24 second shot clock, and "basketball" for the sport as it existed in greatly changed form thereafter. This might be a useful shorthand for describing the older style of basketball without having to qualify what is meant every time. But that doesn't mean that "basket-ball and basketball are two different things." No, it's just two different spellings of the same sport, and a small group of people has made an artificial distinction for shorthand use in their discussions. It's not like Tri2Cook can go into a bar and ask for a "cock . . . tail" or participate in a discussion on the Chanticleer Society boards or elsewhere and write "cock-tail" and have people know what is being talked about.

Because, shorthand understanding in these forums or not, there is no generally accepted distinction between the two spellings and they do have the same meaning. If anything, it's like the difference between "olde tyme" and "old time."

That's all I'm really saying: Useful distinction? Sure. Real distinction? No.
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#302 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:25 AM

Hm well contemporaries almost certainly didn't make the distinction, sure. I don't know if that means it isn't real or not.
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#303 Vieux Carré

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

My "house" Old Fashioned is Jim Beam Bourbon, garbage style. My off-menu (for now) rum Old Fashioned is spiced simple syrup, two rums, Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters and a flamed orange peel.


Katie, what are the two rums that you use? I must have tried 30 different rums for an old fashioned until I tried Pusser's and found that really works nicely. I'm not exactly sure why I put Pusser's off so long except that until then I guess I hadn't been really been impressed with it, but now it is my go to for a rum old fashioned.

#304 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 08:43 PM

I tried a few variations on the Old Fashioned tonight.

The American Trilogy: equal parts bonded Applejack and rye (I used Rittenhouse), orange bitters. This cocktail was introduced to me by a friend. I read that it was created by Richard Boccato and Michael McIlroy from Little Branch in 2007.
Then I tried the same cocktail with Calvados instead of the rye. It was not quite as good but I suspect that my Calvados is not quite up to par.

Posted Image

Then this cocktail on the Bittermens website caught my eye: The Conference (attributed to Brian Miller at Death and Company, 2007) with 1/2 oz each rye, bourbon, Calvados, Cognac, 1/4 oz demerara, Angostura and mole bitters, lemon and orange twists. It's a fun cocktail with a little bit of everything!

Posted Image

Edited by FrogPrincesse, 30 January 2012 - 08:47 PM.


#305 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:09 PM

I've now got a small collection of bitters beyond Angostura's standard. I have Fee's orange, Fee's Aztec chocolate and, too, Peychaud's. Which of these are worth using to replace the Angostura in an Old Fashioned (made, otherwise, the standard way with rye or maybe bourbon rather than rum/cognac/et al).

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#306 evo-lution

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:56 PM

I've now got a small collection of bitters beyond Angostura's standard. I have Fee's orange, Fee's Aztec chocolate and, too, Peychaud's. Which of these are worth using to replace the Angostura in an Old Fashioned (made, otherwise, the standard way with rye or maybe bourbon rather than rum/cognac/et al).


Would ultimately depend on your base spirit. Are those all the bitters you have (Ango, Fee Orange, Fee Aztec, Peychaud's) and are you keen only on rye/bourbon Old Fashioneds?
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#307 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:41 PM

No. I've only made bourbon and rye-based Old Fashioneds but I have access to and am very keen to experiment with cognac, dark rum, scotch (mostly Islay but, too, some Speysides and a couple of others), Irish whiskey and Australian whiskey. I also have some Canadian Club floating around.

EDIT

Unless you count Campari as an appropriate sort of bitters, then yes, I only have Angostura, Fee Chocolate, Fee Orange and Peychaud's.

Edited by ChrisTaylor, 01 February 2012 - 11:42 PM.

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#308 haresfur

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:24 PM

I've now got a small collection of bitters beyond Angostura's standard. I have Fee's orange, Fee's Aztec chocolate and, too, Peychaud's. Which of these are worth using to replace the Angostura in an Old Fashioned (made, otherwise, the standard way with rye or maybe bourbon rather than rum/cognac/et al).

You may find the Fee's orange are not bitter enough to take the drink where you want it to be, but hey, mix a small one and see what your think. I would guess the chocolate may go better with rum but once again, go with your palate. I like to smell a whisky then smell the bitters. Doesn't totally tell you what will go together but gives an idea (except for my woefully pitiful sense of smell).

Next time you are at Nick's you might want to pick up the Angustrua orange bitters and try them (or try 50:50 with Fee's). And according to their web site they have Fee's whisky barrel aged bitters. I use them or their aromatic bitters where Angustrua is called for.

For the Peychaud's, find some absinthe for a sazarac or let me know next time we link up and I'll give you some Obsello - got lots since I generally use it only in dashes.
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#309 KatieLoeb

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:35 PM


My "house" Old Fashioned is Jim Beam Bourbon, garbage style. My off-menu (for now) rum Old Fashioned is spiced simple syrup, two rums, Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters and a flamed orange peel.


Katie, what are the two rums that you use? I must have tried 30 different rums for an old fashioned until I tried Pusser's and found that really works nicely. I'm not exactly sure why I put Pusser's off so long except that until then I guess I hadn't been really been impressed with it, but now it is my go to for a rum old fashioned.


Sorry - just saw this.

I generally use 1.5 oz. of either Scarlet Ibis or Abuelo 12 yr. old and 1 oz. of Smith & Cross Navy strength to "prop it up" a bit. The spiced simple gives it an autumnal/winter profile and the Whiskey Barrel bitters add to that. The flamed orange is particularly tasty with the more flavor forward rums in this. Stirred, served in a snifter to enjoy the aromas more.

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#310 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:37 PM

They normally stock the aged bitters but were sold out when I visited them last week. I'll buy some next time I happen to be going to Nicks's for sure. And too, I love Sazeracs ... altho' following the Gospel of DeGroff I use Pernod for the absinthe rinse stage of the recipe.

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#311 Vieux Carré

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:24 PM



My "house" Old Fashioned is Jim Beam Bourbon, garbage style. My off-menu (for now) rum Old Fashioned is spiced simple syrup, two rums, Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters and a flamed orange peel.


Katie, what are the two rums that you use? I must have tried 30 different rums for an old fashioned until I tried Pusser's and found that really works nicely. I'm not exactly sure why I put Pusser's off so long except that until then I guess I hadn't been really been impressed with it, but now it is my go to for a rum old fashioned.


Sorry - just saw this.

I generally use 1.5 oz. of either Scarlet Ibis or Abuelo 12 yr. old and 1 oz. of Smith & Cross Navy strength to "prop it up" a bit. The spiced simple gives it an autumnal/winter profile and the Whiskey Barrel bitters add to that. The flamed orange is particularly tasty with the more flavor forward rums in this. Stirred, served in a snifter to enjoy the aromas more.


Oh, quite interesting. I like the idea of using a bit of the Smith & Cross. I'll definitely give that a try. Aren't the Scarlet Ibis and Abuelo quite different from each other? Don't they make quite different drinks?

#312 evo-lution

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:32 PM

They normally stock the aged bitters but were sold out when I visited them last week. I'll buy some next time I happen to be going to Nicks's for sure. And too, I love Sazeracs ... altho' following the Gospel of DeGroff I use Pernod for the absinthe rinse stage of the recipe.


Now that absinthe is more widely available, drop the Pernod and go with the real deal. Makes for a vastly superior beverage in my humble opinion.
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#313 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

My latest experiments with non-rye/bourbon Old Fashioneds has taken me in the direction of tequila. I'm using Espolon Reposado. I understand a tequila with a couple more years under its belt might be better for this sort of thing, but the Espolon seems nice enough. I tried two variants: both made in exactly the same way, aside from the choice of bitters. For one I used orange bitters. This worked very well. I'm keen to get some other citrus bitters eventually, as I find I'm using orange bitters almost as often as Angostura and Peychaud's. Anyway, for the second one I tried using the Fee's Aztec Chocolate bitters. It wasn't shit--no--it just didn't really work for me. Maybe I needed a gutsier tequila or, perhaps, to pair the chocolate bitters with a rum or bourbon instead of tequila. Maybe. Or cut the chocolate bitters with, say, Angostura.

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#314 mkayahara

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:13 PM

Tequila Old Fashioneds made with grapefruit bitters are the best, in my book. I find the Fee chocolate bitters to be a little bit... lacking in nuance. They do work with some rums (they're not half bad with Kraken, for instance), and I could see them working with rye or bourbon, but I'm not surprised to hear they weren't great with tequila. Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole bitters, on the other hand, are exceptional with tequila.
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#315 EvergreenDan

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:40 PM

I too love the Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters. They are subtly chocolate and assuredly bitter.

I find that chocolate has juvenile associations for me, like the root beer flavor of Root. They both are difficult to use without evoking a "kiddie cocktail" association.
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#316 slkinsey

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:49 AM

Martin Doudoroff, with whom some of you may be familiar from his involvement in CocktailDB, or his wonderful MixologyTech iPhone apps, My Bar and Beachbum Berry's Tiki+, or perhaps Vermouth 101 is at it again . . . this time with Old Fashioned 101, a web site borne his frustration in getting a decent Old Fashioned at bars and having to explain it over and over and over again.
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#317 tanstaafl2

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:12 AM

Martin Doudoroff, with whom some of you may be familiar from his involvement in CocktailDB, or his wonderful MixologyTech iPhone apps, My Bar and Beachbum Berry's Tiki+, or perhaps Vermouth 101 is at it again . . . this time with Old Fashioned 101, a web site borne his frustration in getting a decent Old Fashioned at bars and having to explain it over and over and over again.


Seems Doudoroff's enthusiasm for what he believes an Old Fashioned should be has at least one persons nose outta joint! I first read about this a couple of days ago on the Chuck Cowdery blog. It would seem Kevin Kosar takes some exception to Doudoroff's claim that an Old Fashioned should be the original recipe.

I personally don't buy Kosar's argument. The more recent variation on an Old Fashioned may well be a lovely drink but it should be called something else. Old Fashioned #X or "New Fashioned" perhaps.

Even DeGroff, who Kosar sites extensively in his response to Doudoroff, notes in The Essential Cocktail on page 40 that his version of an "Old Fashioned" is different from the original that he calls the "old fashioned" Old Fashioned. DeGroff no doubt made them that way because for the bulk of his career that is what his patrons expected to receive I suspect.

So I suppose I am in the Doudoroff camp on this one.

Edited to note that Kosar has responded to the Cowdery blog since I first looked at it. Seems he doesn't care for Doudoroff's "high-handedness and snobery". I think I am still in the Doudoroff camp. The current version of the Old Fashioned is fine but it should have a different name so that one can have some control over what you get when you order one. I suppose you just have to find a good bartender who will let you describe what you want!

Or make 'em yourself...

Edited by tanstaafl2, 29 February 2012 - 09:19 AM.

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#318 slkinsey

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:01 AM

Part of the fun of Martin's take is that it's somewhat curmudgeonly, which to my mind perfectly befits the ethos of a deliberately old-fangled drink that wasn't even given its name until it had evolved several generations of fangling away from its root form.

I'll skip over Kosar's snide attitude towards Martin's qualifications to hold his opinion and merely point out that Martin was deeply involved in the cocktail movement when Kosar was still finishing his education. Moreover, it doesn't seem to be a matter of dispute that the ur-version of the cocktail to which state of fangling the Old Fashioned attempts to revert was as Martin describes. Kosar seems to fall victim to the belief that "the way it is now is the way it's always been" and apparently believes that the "fruit salad" iteration should be held as definitive.
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#319 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Wow this Kosar character seems to enjoy an unusually good rapport with himself.

I was going to rhetorically ask whether it was really worth all the pixels he made huffing about somebody's opinion on a drink recipe, but then I noticed that there are 11 pages in the Old Fashioned topic alone (in which I share responsibility) never mind the rest of this august forum :wacko:
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#320 Alcuin

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 10:51 AM

Tequila Old Fashioneds made with grapefruit bitters are the best, in my book. I find the Fee chocolate bitters to be a little bit... lacking in nuance. They do work with some rums (they're not half bad with Kraken, for instance), and I could see them working with rye or bourbon, but I'm not surprised to hear they weren't great with tequila. Bittermen's Xocolatl Mole bitters, on the other hand, are exceptional with tequila.


I've been making a great OF with 1oz tequila blanco, 1oz reposado, 2 dashes Xocolatl mole bitters, a float of 1/2oz mezcal, and a big long grapefruit twist. Shows off the many dimensions of tequila and the bitters beautifully. My favorite drink as of this moment.
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#321 evo-lution

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:59 PM

Finishing the night with Tapatio Reposado, Spanish Bitters and a touch of gum syrup. Finished with white grapefruit zest. It's the simple things...

Edited by evo-lution, 02 March 2012 - 05:00 PM.

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#322 tanstaafl2

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:08 PM

Martin Doudoroff, with whom some of you may be familiar from his involvement in CocktailDB, or his wonderful MixologyTech iPhone apps, My Bar and Beachbum Berry's Tiki+, or perhaps Vermouth 101 is at it again . . . this time with Old Fashioned 101, a web site borne his frustration in getting a decent Old Fashioned at bars and having to explain it over and over and over again.


I see the Professor has weighed in on the Old Fashioned in his column on page 22 of the March/April issue of Imbibe.

Coincidence? Well, yes probably so since this was likely written well before the recent tempest in a tumbler began.

But given that part of the tumbler tempest was over the one true Old Fashioned defined by what constitutes the "original" Old Fashioned versus the "new fangled" Old Fashioned I did find it a bit amusing that the article makes the point that not only did the "cock-tail" not have muddled fruit in the beginning, it also did not have the bourbon or rye that step 4 on the Old Fashioned 101 website is pretty insistent about.

Rather it likely began with either genever or cognac as the primary spirit.

So there!

I guess...
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#323 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:14 AM

Recent toyshopping has allowed me to, I think, reach a point where I'm happy with tequila-based Old Fashioneds. Patron Anejo (found a mini--figured it was a nice way to sample the tequila, which I think I prefer to the Don Julio), agave nectar (found a bottle at random) and Fee's grapefruit bitters. I like this a whole lot.

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#324 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:48 AM

While I was enjoying a Negroni Primavera, I made this drink for my generally amaro-adverse husband last night, an Old-Fashioned variation leaning in the direction of a Manhattan. It's prepared like an old-fashioned but there is also a touch (1/4 oz) of sweet vermouth and it's heavy on the bitters (4 dashes). Orange and lemon zests.
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#325 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:53 PM

After making a Sazarac the other night, I thought that an Improved Whiskey Cocktail was in order. I used Bulleit rye, Luxardo maraschino, Peychaud's bitters, a spritz of Pernod, orange and lemon zests. One of these days I will have to spring for a bottle of real absinthe...

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#326 Keith Orr

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:42 PM

FrogPrincesse - can't believe you haven't sprung for a bottle of the real stuff. There's a lot of magic in a bottle of Absinthe. It adds so much more complexity to a Sazerac than Pernod. There are a few Tiki Drinks that call for it too. It really brings on a whole new dimension in the nose and on the palate.

As always I enjoy your posts and photos!

#327 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

FrogPrincesse - can't believe you haven't sprung for a bottle of the real stuff. There's a lot of magic in a bottle of Absinthe. It adds so much more complexity to a Sazerac than Pernod. There are a few Tiki Drinks that call for it too. It really brings on a whole new dimension in the nose and on the palate.

As always I enjoy your posts and photos!

Thanks Keith. You know what to get me for Christmas then! :wink:

#328 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 12:13 PM

I had a rum old-fashioned variation the other night with my new bottle of Havana Club 7. The Chet Baker by Sam Ross uses honey as the sweetener, a touch of sweet vermouth, and angostura bitters. It's a nice way to enjoy an aged rum. The Havana club 7 has a lot of caramel and a hint of spice and smoke. It's deep but not as heavy/assertive as Smith & Cross or a black strap rum. At least it does not resemble any of the dark rums I currently have.

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#329 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 01:06 PM

After reading Chris' thread about the "Angostura & Absinthe Thing", I was inspired to have a Hendrick Cocktail, which is an Old-Fashioned with a drop of absinthe. A ton of spice in that drink. Adding the absinthe (pastis in my case) changed the mood of the drink quite a bit.

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#330 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 10:15 AM

After learning that Rumdood/Matt Robold was going to end his Sunday run at 320 Main, I was inspired to try his Jaunty Angle. It has a mix of demerara rum and rye as the base, with a touch of Chartreuse and gomme for the sweetener. Angostura aromatic and orange bitters.

It's supposed to be served neat a la Sazerac (oops), with an orange twist.

 

10971571986_5b25f54988_z.jpg

 

It's very intense and flavorful. Every sip is a little different so it's a very interesting cocktail. First it's all about the rye and Chartreuse, then the caramel and butterscotch from the rum become more pronounced towards the end.

 

Matt has detailed notes on his blog together with recommendations for the rum & rye combo.