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maggiethecat

The Old Fashioned Cocktail: The Topic

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Reading above, although rye whiskey is my choice of spirit for an Old Fashioned, I'm not sure I agree that whiskey is the only legitimate choice for something called an Old Fashioned. I've always understood, anyway, that it was called the Whiskey Old Fashioned, implying that there could be other Old Fashioned cocktails made with other base spirits.

My idea of an old fashioned is: base spirit, sugar, bitters, ice (and usually a twist or two). No soda. No muddled fruit. No cherry. I've had a few Gin Old Fashioneds I really enjoyed.

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that's my understanding as well.

although, as noted above, vodka hardly qualifies as a base spirit in the OF.

and keep the fruit out!

I'm not hardcore opposed to a splash of soda water...it won't kill it, it's just unnecessary.

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I'm not hardcore opposed to a splash of soda water...it won't kill it, it's just unnecessary.

Good Lord, you pantywaist! Yes. It. Will. :wink:

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As others have pointed out, any base spirit could be used to make an old-fashion(ed), including vodka. Just don't think plain vodka would be very interesting. YMMV.

To me the flavored vodka cocktail varicose veins mentioned doesn't qualify as an old-fashioned, not because it is made with vodka; but, because it has mint.

To me, that makes it more like a Smash.

Though, I've heard those Belvedere flavored vodkas are the best of the bunch.

Used to enjoy a bit of orange peel muddled in my old-fashioneds. Have since reconsidered that position and developed a predilection for the more traditional version.

It's always interesting to order one in a bar and see what you get.

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It's always interesting to order one in a bar and see what you get.

Maybe you should just take some dice into a bar, roll them and see what you get. Cocktail Roulette.

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It's always interesting to order one in a bar and see what you get.

Maybe you should just take some dice into a bar, roll them and see what you get. Cocktail Roulette.

Ha! Serendipity. I like it.

Seriously, some times it is best to stick with beer.

I think the only undrinkably bad old-fashioned I've ever had was made with vodka. Should have gone with Heineken that night.

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"Good Lord, you pantywaist! Yes. It. Will."

ah, but you see one also omits the ice...!

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It's always interesting to order one in a bar and see what you get.

Maybe you should just take some dice into a bar, roll them and see what you get. Cocktail Roulette.

Ha! Serendipity. I like it.

Seriously, some times it is best to stick with beer.

I think the only undrinkably bad old-fashioned I've ever had was made with vodka. Should have gone with Heineken that night.

Oh! So you can't drink flavourless spirits, but you can drink flavourless beer :raz:

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Oh! So you can't drink flavourless spirits, but you can drink flavourless beer :raz:

Chuckle! Good one!

Not my first choice; but, sometimes flavorless beer is the best you can hope for in the US.

Rock and a hard place, George, rock and a very hard place.

But, getting back to old-fashion(ed)s, what is the correct spelling?

Old-fashion or Old-fashioned?

I see both in older cocktail books.

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I think I brought this up somewhere else, but I can't remember. I have a friend in Madison who swears that whenever he orders an Old Fashioned in Madison, they always make it with brandy. I have not seen this occur though.

Was at a steakhouse in Chicago over Christmas and ordered an old fashioned, thinking. . steak house, traditional cocktails, should be no problem. well, no muddling, and the cherry and orange slice were the last things to go into it. it was a little difficult to drink, having to manuever around an orange slice floating on top of the drink. maybe he was just too busy.

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But, getting back to old-fashion(ed)s, what is the correct spelling?

Old-fashion or Old-fashioned?

I see both in older cocktail books.

Well, I say "Old Fashioned", but thats because I mean "Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail". Grammatically it doesn't work as "Old Fashion", unless you mean "A Whiskey Cocktail of the Old Fashion".

Usually I am too drunk to talk, so I just point at the menu.

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I'm not hardcore opposed to a splash of soda water...it won't kill it, it's just unnecessary.

Good Lord, you pantywaist! Yes. It. Will. :wink:

It won't, not a tiny splash -- to me it adds to the the traditional flavor. I wear pantywaists all the time, and I have zero objection to fruit on a toothpick. It's pretty and fun and fruity and just might add to the flavor.

Vodka just ain't right.

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Seriously. What's the point of a tiny splash of soda? If it's truly tiny (I assume we're talking about maybe half-ounce?) the carbonation will be gone in very short order. It will provide dilution, of course, but I can get that by swirling the glass in the ice -- and, besides, I like the progression of flavors as the melting ice dilutes the spirit.

Personally, I find the idea of a vodka OF less problematic than the addition of cherries and orange slices and the like (especially if muddled!). The only problem with the vodka version is that vodka has no flavor. The Old Fashioned is such a simple and elemental preparation, that I think anything more than bitters and a twist make it into a different drink. After all, if we're going to call a drink with whiskey, sugar, bitters, a lemon twist, a splash of soda, muddled cherry, muddled orange and a pineapple spear an "Old Fashioned" -- why draw the line at Lucinda's mint? Why not "allow" a dash of maraschino? Or how about a dash of absinthe? A Sazerac seems a lot closer to the simple 3-ingredient Old Fashioned than the muddled-fruit-and-soda version, and it gets a different name...

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hey...I would never put soda or fruit in my OF.

just saying that if someone wants a little soda, it won't kill it (especially if you reduce the ice)

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...vodka has no flavor.

You mean American Vodka by its legal definition within the borders of the United States, rather than actual Vodka?

If some asked you for a glass of water and you gave them a glass of vodka, I think that they might notice :biggrin:

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[...]

Personally, I find the idea of a vodka OF less problematic than the addition of cherries and orange slices and the like (especially if muddled!).  The only problem with the vodka version is that vodka has no flavor.  The Old Fashioned is such a simple and elemental preparation, that I think anything more than bitters and a twist make it into a different drink.  After all, if we're going to call a drink with whiskey, sugar, bitters, a lemon twist, a splash of soda, muddled cherry, muddled orange and a pineapple spear an "Old Fashioned" -- why draw the line at Lucinda's mint?  Why not "allow" a dash of maraschino?  Or how about a dash of absinthe?  A Sazerac seems a lot closer to the simple 3-ingredient Old Fashioned than the muddled-fruit-and-soda version, and it gets a different name...

True, muddling what was once a garnish, somehow crept into the old-fashioned. And I agree that a slice of orange or cherry shouldn't be muddled with the bitters and sugar. I don't think a muddled orange zest is necessarily a bad thing, even though it may well make the drink a whiskey cobbler.

But, from a practical point of view, unless you're at a bar which takes pride in classic cocktails, when you order an old-fashioned, you're going to get an orange slice muddled with a cherry, a shot of rail bourbon, and a dash of soda. Bitters if you're lucky.

At that point, even though some of us may maintain that the old-fashioned without muddled fruit is superior, I don't think it makes sense to argue that the drink served in most of the bars in the US isn't an old-fashioned.

The good news is, I know of at least 3 bars here in SF that make a point of serving traditional old-fashioneds. The pendulum does seem to be swinging back the other way, even though there is a long way to go.

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At that point, even though some of us may maintain that the old-fashioned without muddled fruit is superior, I don't think it makes sense to argue that the drink served in most of the bars in the US isn't an old-fashioned.

Hmm. Not sure I agree, there. It doesn't make any less sense than arguing that the "chilled vodka served in V-glass" served in most of the bars in the US isn't really a Martini. :smile:

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I think the squirt of seltzer was used to help melt the sugar in the beginning, not to add dilution and fizz at the end.

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correct...but it is still seltzer.

the more interesting part is that the first known recipe STIRS in the lemon peel with the the other ingredients...not as a garnish.

hmmm...

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Add two parts bourbon to one part water and stir.

Is it common elsewhere to dilute with so much water? I do prefer to dilute with water than to compensate with more sugar.

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As others have pointed out, any base spirit could be used to make an old-fashion(ed), including vodka.  Just don't think plain vodka would be very interesting.  YMMV.

To me the flavored vodka cocktail varicose veins mentioned doesn't qualify as an old-fashioned, not because it is made with vodka; but, because it has mint.

To me, that makes it more like a Smash.

Though, I've heard those Belvedere flavored vodkas are the best of the bunch.

To this I completely agree. Perhaps my recipe is more like a smash, but my understanding of the smash is that it contains crushed ice? Perhaps I'm wrong again? I used cubed ice in my drink to allow the flavours to marry as it was mixed. The addition of mint is completely alien to the tradition of the old fashioned, but I think my palate would much rather see a few sprigs of the minty stuff in my old fashioned than a muddled cherry or pineapple. That seems to me like much more of an American thing.

A vodka old fashioned using plain vodka just wouldn't float my boat either I'm afraid. As mentioned, the Belvedere flavours are really good, the pomeranzca does actually have a length on the palate unlike any other flavoured vodka that I've tried which is why I tried it using the old fashioned method.

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Ever since Dave the Cook (and Eric Felten over at the WSJ) turned me on to the Omar Bradley, I've been intrigued. The inherent complexity of a good orange marmalade is a swell foil for the liquor (bourbon in particular), and it's a drink that demands a taste or two to adjust sweetness or another element. Here's the base recipe with my tweaks:

3 oz bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)

1 heaping tsp bitter orange marmalade

1 squeeze fresh lemon juice (go easy)

1 dash simple syrup (if the marmalade is truly bitter)

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake, strain and sieve, cherry if you're feeling the need.

Tonight I realized that the marmalade I have had crystallized, so I created an Omar Bradley base, adding to the jar some simple and a bunch of bitters plus a bit of booze to the jar and shaking hard. It's weird and good.

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I have a new drink on the menu at Chick's:

Muddle 2 brandied cherries, two small wedges of orange, three dashes of Angostura and a single drop of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel aged bitters with 1/2 tsp. Demerara sugar in the bottom of a rocks glass. Cover with ice and add Felipe II Spanish Jerez brandy to 3/4 fill the glass. Toss until sugar is melted. Add a splash of soda to fill.

The name: The Old Fascist. :biggrin:

(courtesy of the droll mind of philadining)

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I have a new drink on the menu at Chick's:

Muddle 2 brandied cherries, two small wedges of orange, three dashes of Angostura and a single drop of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel aged bitters with 1/2 tsp. Demerara sugar in the bottom of a rocks glass.  Cover with ice and add Felipe II Spanish Jerez brandy to 3/4 fill the glass.  Toss until sugar is melted.  Add a splash of soda to fill.

The name:  The Old Fascist.  :biggrin:

(courtesy of the droll mind of philadining)

Thats awesome! Sounds like a high-end version of how they make Old-Fashioned's here in Wisconsin (well, at least when you find some place that doesn't use a bottled mix :wacko: ). Its interesting, when you go into many small town local bars, when you ask for an OF, they respond, "Sweet or Sour?"

I generally make mine with a muddled citrus slice. Maybe its not the original, but its good. I had a locally distilled pumpkin spirit last fall that I subbed for the rye/bourbon. It was quite tasty.


Edited by MattJohnson (log)

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