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maggiethecat

The Old Fashioned Cocktail: The Topic

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So let's be clear about this. There are two very distinct styles of Old Fashioned. There's the Old School with simple syrup as the sweetener, bitters and expressed peels, and there's the "garbage" style with muddled sugar cube, bitters and orange slice and cherries being turned to a paste before the ice and whiskey is even introduced to the glass, and a splash of club soda on the back end. Both are perfectly acceptable iterations of a classic. 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. There's room for both. They are both delicious in their own way. No problem here.

I don't think I'd be alone here in saying I'm going to agree to disagree on that. We've had this discussion in this very thread time and again, no need to rehash it. But the idea that both of those drinks are equally entitled to the name "Old Fashioned" is by no means universally accepted. All power to those who like fruit paste in their whiskey, no offense to them intended.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Geez, Andy. Next you're going to be saying the "nod in the direction of France" style of Martini isn't equally entitled to the name "Martini". :biggrin:


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Geez, Andy. Next you're going to be saying the "nod in the direction of France" style of Martini isn't equally entitled to the name "Martini". :biggrin:

I might. I'm both an iconoclast and a heretic, no mean feat I tell you.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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So let's be clear about this. There are two very distinct styles of Old Fashioned. There's the Old School with simple syrup as the sweetener, bitters and expressed peels, and there's the "garbage" style with muddled sugar cube, bitters and orange slice and cherries being turned to a paste before the ice and whiskey is even introduced to the glass, and a splash of club soda on the back end. Both are perfectly acceptable iterations of a classic. 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. There's room for both. They are both delicious in their own way. No problem here.

I don't think I'd be alone here in saying I'm going to agree to disagree on that. We've had this discussion in this very thread time and again, no need to rehash it. But the idea that both of those drinks are equally entitled to the name "Old Fashioned" is by no means universally accepted. All power to those who like fruit paste in their whiskey, no offense to them intended.

But then what do you do about the fact that many people think of the newer style complete with mangled fruit salad as The Old Fashioned? Maybe it's the fact that I'm in WI, where the new style reigns supreme and everybody knows the drink, but unless they're initiated into some of the cocktail trends of the past seven or so years, the garbage OF is The OF to them. You have to explain at length why what you're serving them is in fact an Old Fashioned.

I'm not sure you can beat back the tide of the many people for whom that is an OF. As for me, last night I had 2oz Genevieve, 2 dashes of Bittercube Jamaica#2 bitters, a squirt of syrup, some ice cubes and a thick swatch of blood orange peel weeping profusely its aromatic oils, and I call that an Old Fashioned. But I wouldn't serve that to somebody, call it an OF and that's that. I'd have to explain why I am entitled to call it an OF. In that case, the shoe's on the other foot even if I think they're mistaken in what the true ideal of an OF is.

For this reason, I like to say Old School OF if I'm talking the true version and Old Fashioned when I'm talking the new school version (and explaining to them why I'm giving them the Old School version!).


nunc est bibendum...

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So let's be clear about this. There are two very distinct styles of Old Fashioned. There's the Old School with simple syrup as the sweetener, bitters and expressed peels, and there's the "garbage" style with muddled sugar cube, bitters and orange slice and cherries being turned to a paste before the ice and whiskey is even introduced to the glass, and a splash of club soda on the back end. Both are perfectly acceptable iterations of a classic. 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. There's room for both. They are both delicious in their own way. No problem here.

I don't think I'd be alone here in saying I'm going to agree to disagree on that. We've had this discussion in this very thread time and again, no need to rehash it. But the idea that both of those drinks are equally entitled to the name "Old Fashioned" is by no means universally accepted. All power to those who like fruit paste in their whiskey, no offense to them intended.

my old fashioned is the third style and no less antique; a carefully composed super stimulus version of bourbon designed to make it more attentional. a venus of willendorf if you will... and a refined version of the cruder first modern super stimulus; the "cocktail"... which inspired countless painters subversively teaching them the rhetoric of abstraction.

debate that one.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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my old fashioned is the third style and no less antique; a carefully composed super stimulus version of bourbon designed to make it more attentional. a venus of willendorf if you will... and a refined version of the cruder first modern super stimulus; the "cocktail"... which inspired countless painters subversively teaching them the rhetoric of abstraction.

debate that one.

I would love to, but I have no idea what you said.

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my old fashioned is the third style and no less antique; a carefully composed super stimulus version of bourbon designed to make it more attentional. a venus of willendorf if you will... and a refined version of the cruder first modern super stimulus; the "cocktail"... which inspired countless painters subversively teaching them the rhetoric of abstraction.

debate that one.

I would love to, but I have no idea what you said.

the whole point of the drink is to make something more attentional. that is why we mix things together. attentional control is a big aspect of modernism and the cocktail did it first.

the old f. is the best example of the straight forward "super" version of a base spirit. the old f. is to bourbon what the venus of willendorf is to a natural woman.

the addition of dry vermouth to gin in a martini creates the same kind of super version. super dryness!

supernormal stimuli

when you make it more attentional while being harmonic, the end result is helping the drinker to dispel anxiety, fight complacency, cement memories, and retrieve them...


Edited by bostonapothecary (log)

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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So let's be clear about this. There are two very distinct styles of Old Fashioned. There's the Old School with simple syrup as the sweetener, bitters and expressed peels, and there's the "garbage" style with muddled sugar cube, bitters and orange slice and cherries being turned to a paste before the ice and whiskey is even introduced to the glass, and a splash of club soda on the back end. Both are perfectly acceptable iterations of a classic. 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. There's room for both. They are both delicious in their own way. No problem here.

I don't think I'd be alone here in saying I'm going to agree to disagree on that. We've had this discussion in this very thread time and again, no need to rehash it. But the idea that both of those drinks are equally entitled to the name "Old Fashioned" is by no means universally accepted. All power to those who like fruit paste in their whiskey, no offense to them intended.

But then what do you do about the fact that many people think of the newer style complete with mangled fruit salad as The Old Fashioned? Maybe it's the fact that I'm in WI, where the new style reigns supreme and everybody knows the drink, but unless they're initiated into some of the cocktail trends of the past seven or so years, the garbage OF is The OF to them. You have to explain at length why what you're serving them is in fact an Old Fashioned.

I'm not sure you can beat back the tide of the many people for whom that is an OF. As for me, last night I had 2oz Genevieve, 2 dashes of Bittercube Jamaica#2 bitters, a squirt of syrup, some ice cubes and a thick swatch of blood orange peel weeping profusely its aromatic oils, and I call that an Old Fashioned. But I wouldn't serve that to somebody, call it an OF and that's that. I'd have to explain why I am entitled to call it an OF. In that case, the shoe's on the other foot even if I think they're mistaken in what the true ideal of an OF is.

For this reason, I like to say Old School OF if I'm talking the true version and Old Fashioned when I'm talking the new school version (and explaining to them why I'm giving them the Old School version!).

Old School Old Fashioned [Whiskey Cock-tail] seems rather redundant to me. I've never refused to mash up fruit in the bottom of someone's drink (and believe me I've done it in all manner of drinks upon request), I just wouldn't offer that as an Old Fashioned, without qualification. My standard position has been to make it without fruit and add it in later if demanded. I've rarely had an involved discussion if neither me nor the customer wanted it. Something along the lines of "this is the original, and I think, best way to make this. Give it a shot, but if you don't like it I'll gladly add fruit or soda if you'd like" has sufficed. Usually not an issue down here, though I can understand why this might be more of an issue in WI where the drink never really went away and sort of became it's own ideosynchratic thing.

As for other spirits, I'm all for it. At Fino we had an "Oldest Fashioned" which allowed a choice of Rittenhouse BIB, Ransom Old Tom, Smith & Cross, or Laird's Bonded. It's a great way to explore any quality spirit.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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So let's be clear about this. There are two very distinct styles of Old Fashioned. There's the Old School with simple syrup as the sweetener, bitters and expressed peels, and there's the "garbage" style with muddled sugar cube, bitters and orange slice and cherries being turned to a paste before the ice and whiskey is even introduced to the glass, and a splash of club soda on the back end. Both are perfectly acceptable iterations of a classic. 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. There's room for both. They are both delicious in their own way. No problem here.

I don't think I'd be alone here in saying I'm going to agree to disagree on that. We've had this discussion in this very thread time and again, no need to rehash it. But the idea that both of those drinks are equally entitled to the name "Old Fashioned" is by no means universally accepted. All power to those who like fruit paste in their whiskey, no offense to them intended.

But then what do you do about the fact that many people think of the newer style complete with mangled fruit salad as The Old Fashioned? Maybe it's the fact that I'm in WI, where the new style reigns supreme and everybody knows the drink, but unless they're initiated into some of the cocktail trends of the past seven or so years, the garbage OF is The OF to them. You have to explain at length why what you're serving them is in fact an Old Fashioned.

I'm not sure you can beat back the tide of the many people for whom that is an OF. As for me, last night I had 2oz Genevieve, 2 dashes of Bittercube Jamaica#2 bitters, a squirt of syrup, some ice cubes and a thick swatch of blood orange peel weeping profusely its aromatic oils, and I call that an Old Fashioned. But I wouldn't serve that to somebody, call it an OF and that's that. I'd have to explain why I am entitled to call it an OF. In that case, the shoe's on the other foot even if I think they're mistaken in what the true ideal of an OF is.

For this reason, I like to say Old School OF if I'm talking the true version and Old Fashioned when I'm talking the new school version (and explaining to them why I'm giving them the Old School version!).

Old School Old Fashioned [Whiskey Cock-tail] seems rather redundant to me. I've never refused to mash up fruit in the bottom of someone's drink (and believe me I've done it in all manner of drinks upon request), I just wouldn't offer that as an Old Fashioned, without qualification. My standard position has been to make it without fruit and add it in later if demanded. I've rarely had an involved discussion if neither me nor the customer wanted it. Something along the lines of "this is the original, and I think, best way to make this. Give it a shot, but if you don't like it I'll gladly add fruit or soda if you'd like" has sufficed. Usually not an issue down here, though I can understand why this might be more of an issue in WI where the drink never really went away and sort of became it's own ideosynchratic thing.

As for other spirits, I'm all for it. At Fino we had an "Oldest Fashioned" which allowed a choice of Rittenhouse BIB, Ransom Old Tom, Smith & Cross, or Laird's Bonded. It's a great way to explore any quality spirit.

I like the idea of adding the fruit in later. I'm not a bartender though so I don't have to worry. I do use it to introduce people to cocktails by explaining to them how we got from the OF then to the OF now (as most people understand it). The OF is totally the quickest gateway toward the perspective that sees the addition of vermouth as an innovation and thinks in terms of base spirit rather than mixer. It's this inversion, starting at the Cock-tail and thinking forward till now and thinking in terms of elevating the base spirit rather than blinding the palate with a rainbow of mixers, that separates the truly afflicted from your average drinker.

Also, Smith&Cross Old Fashioned is happening tonight! Thanks for the idea; for some reason it never occurred to me.


nunc est bibendum...

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Also, Smith&Cross Old Fashioned is happening tonight! Thanks for the idea; for some reason it never occurred to me.

I think you'll find it most pleasin'


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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But then what do you do about the fact that many people think of the newer style complete with mangled fruit salad as The Old Fashioned?

Smile bemusedly in self-satisfaction while simultaneously cursing under one's breath that one can't get a decent Cock-tail around here.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Smile smugly in self-satisfaction while simultaneously cursing under one's breath that one can't get a decent Cock-tail around here.

Fixed. :raz: I think its best to make it clear in the menu somehow, especially if it isn't clear from the environment. Keeps both types of customer happy and all.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Also, Smith&Cross Old Fashioned is happening tonight! Thanks for the idea; for some reason it never occurred to me.

I think you'll find it most pleasin'

I did, with 2 dashes xocolatl mole bitters and an orange twist. I'll definitely be making that one again thanks.


nunc est bibendum...

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But then what do you do about the fact that many people think of the newer style complete with mangled fruit salad as The Old Fashioned?

Smile bemusedly in self-satisfaction while simultaneously cursing under one's breath that one can't get a decent Cock-tail around here.

Yes or smiling, cursing, and also dreaming of a world where I could get a straightforward mixture of cold booze, bitters, and a little sugar in a glass at even the lowliest of bars (especially at the lowliest of bars!).


nunc est bibendum...

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Yes or smiling, cursing, and also dreaming of a world where I could get a straightforward mixture of cold booze, bitters, and a little sugar in a glass at even the lowliest of bars (especially at the lowliest of bars!).

I suppose telling the bartender that's what you want instead of just being able to ask for a cock-tail and get exactly what you have in mind wouldn't be considered cool? :raz:


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Yes or smiling, cursing, and also dreaming of a world where I could get a straightforward mixture of cold booze, bitters, and a little sugar in a glass at even the lowliest of bars (especially at the lowliest of bars!).

I suppose telling the bartender that's what you want instead of just being able to ask for a cock-tail and get exactly what you have in mind wouldn't be considered cool? :raz:

Hahaha no that would be cool too, but it would be even cooler if you didn't have to.

Why should I have to tell somebody how to dissolve sugar in a glass (most places don't have syrup), dash in bitters (most bartenders hardly know what bitters are), add nothing but a couple ounces of booze, and garnish it with a nice twist (hard to get at most bars). I'm not talking about going into a "modern cocktail bar," I'm talking about ANY bar. Just like any Italian resto should be able to give me a tomato sauce with anchovies, capers, olives, chili, and garlic when I ask for a puttanesca, because they'll have the ingredients and should know this basic sauce without me explaining what that is, I'd like to be able to go into a bar and order a "Cock-tail" without having to train somebody first how to make one.

Lucky for me though, I like good beer and that's in abundance around these parts.


nunc est bibendum...

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Why should I have to tell somebody how to dissolve sugar in a glass (most places don't have syrup), dash in bitters (most bartenders hardly know what bitters are), add nothing but a couple ounces of booze, and garnish it with a nice twist (hard to get at most bars).

I'm not saying you should have to, I'm saying I'm not surprised you do have to. If it weren't for this discussion, I'd have no idea that a cock-tail and a cocktail are two different things so I can see the bartender at the vast majority of places looking a bit puzzled if somebody sat down at the bar and simply said "I'll have a cock-tail please"... even if they specified the spirit.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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If it weren't for this discussion, I'd have no idea that a cock-tail and a cocktail are two different things...

They are?


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If it weren't for this discussion, I'd have no idea that a cock-tail and a cocktail are two different things...

They are?

Apparently, with the disclaimer that that's just what I picked up from the discussions here and I could easily have misunderstood what was being said. I'm getting "cock-tail" to be a spirit with a bit of sugar and bitters. I don't know what "cocktail" without the hyphen implies in terms of drink history but it's obviously not tied to a specific drink even in high-end craft places today.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Nah, not really. I mean, one might make a distinction to say that it stands for the original concoction of alcohol, sugar bitters and water when using the dash whereas without the dash it represents the modern definition of "general purpose term for spirit-based mixed libation." And this might be a distinction that makes sense to you or others. But from what I can tell, it would be an artificial distinction with little historical basis. For what it's worth, to the best of my knowledge the earliest citations do not include a dash.


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Nah, not really. I mean, one might make a distinction to say that it stands for the original concoction of alcohol, sugar bitters and water when using the dash whereas without the dash it represents the modern definition of "general purpose term for spirit-based mixed libation." And this might be a distinction that makes sense to you or others. But from what I can tell, it would be an artificial distinction with little historical basis. For what it's worth, to the best of my knowledge the earliest citations do not include a dash.

Sounds good to me. I don't need the distinction to be happy, I've just got most of my drinks-related education via the Spirits & Cocktails forum here and somehow translated what I was reading as what I posted. I somehow understood that it was a distinction being made here but I'm perfectly fine with learning that's not the case. I'd much rather learn than think I know what I'm talking about when I don't. :biggrin:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I dunno, Sam, I'd say that's precisely the distinction that's being made, historically accurate or not. The term "cocktail" has broadened in semantic scope to encompass all spirit-based mixed drinks, so the hyphen (not a dash) has been added, at least in these forums, to evoke the "spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters" drink, or the minor variations (fancy or improved). In other words, if I post in the "Drinks" thread that I'm drinking a Cognac cock-tail, people around here have a much better sense of the type of libation I'm consuming that if I say I'm having a Cognac cocktail. Again, not to say that this is historically accurate or universally understood, but I think it holds true in this forum.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Oh, I think it's fine enough for people in this thread or even in these forums to make that distinction. But it's by no means something that's achieved anywhere near critical mass to be a generally accepted practice. If/when it does, it will be a modern distinction.

So that's the point I'm making. Sure it's clear that some people (largely Adam) have drawn a distinction between "cocktail" and "cock-tail" in this thread. And we know what they're talking about when they do this. But this is a far cry from saying "there's a difference between a 'cocktail' and a 'cock-tail' " in any way that applies to or has meaning in the larger world. We could, for example, make a similar distinction in another thread in which some people said that a "Manhattan" is made with bourbon and a "Man-hattan" is made with rye. But that, too, wouldn't have any generally accepted meaning.

All that one really needs to understand is that the original meaning describes various iterations of spirit, sugar, bitters, water (and certain additions such as absinthe, curaçao, and citrus peel). And that this usage of "cocktail" is different from the modern usage. If it is a useful shorthand to introduce a dash into the former in a forum discussion, then that's useful. But it doesn't make "cock-tail" a thing.


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For what it's worth, to the best of my knowledge the earliest citations do not include a dash.

Erm, you mean apart from the Balance & Columbian Repository? That, at least, punctuates the word that way. Personally I think it is a useful shorthand for discussing the proto-Old Fashioned, ie the original cocktail, without having to qualify what is meant every time.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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