Tuesday, June 05, 2012

RPI: The Born Again Old-Fashioned

The Lowdown:

Kristy and I, unfortunately for you, are currently experiencing the side-effects of being just too freakin' popular. Friends begging us for our presence, text messages out the wahoo (yeah, that's right I said wahoo), not to mention we've been asked to attend all of Victoria's most highly acclaimed art shows, movie premieres, and backyard barbecues. Art shows... nah. Backyard barbecues definitely get the thumbs up though. What I'm getting at is that our RPI didn't quite formulate. In fact, it failed. Miserably. If you enjoy the finer side of spirits, this is a bonus for you. If not, well... shit.

Bartending, to most, is a simple and effective way to look cool. How can I say anything different? I've been bartending for some time now, and rarely do I ever look into the history of what I'm making or, mostly likely, drinking. But I sure as hell do look cool. To be honest, I only got into bartending to put myself through too many agonizing years of school. Finally, knowing that my days as a bartender are nearing at an end, I thought I should start to explore the classier side of bartending.

One thing, that I can truthfully say, is that I have always appreciated the classics. Sugary and fruity drinks have never been my thing. Scratch that, they haven't been my thing since I was 16 and drinking out of a 2L cider bottle with 4 other friends. Ah shit, scratch that once again. I did also enjoy freshly made pina coladas while I was away on vacation last month. But how can you resist a bit of Jimmy Buffet - Margaritaville and a freshly made blender drink? That's right, listen to that song and tell me you aren't craving a blended drink.

Beyond the aforementioned slips of my past sips, I've always enjoyed the bite that a well crafted drink has. This of course, is much different than the bite that a poorly made drink at a stag or toga party has (you know, where coke is added for colour). Bite. Yes, bite was one of the reasons that this cocktail has so many variations (or so history says).

This recipe (not the name however), and the word cocktail, are claimed to have been published in 1806. The term cocktail was a simple definition that included a beverage that contained bitters, sugar, water, and spirits. It's clear to see that a Old-Fashioned clearly fits within these boundaries. Although, 1806 is when the general definition of a cocktail was unveiled, it wasn't until 1895 that the words "Old-Fashioned" were published in relation to the, once again popular, cocktail (Kosevich, 2009). Although, the Old-Fashioned is synonymous with whiskey today, it used to be a simple process of building a cocktail (Patterson, 2011). In other words, every spirit had its own version of the old-fashioned (IE: rum old-fashioned, tequila old-fashioned, etc).

Cocktails, in their primitive definition, were essentially there to make the spirits of the time manageable. Since then, the original recipe has spawned a million illegitimate children. Some say that the prohibition was to blame, when underground bartenders made cocktails that were disguised as non-alcoholic beverages. A few other sources stated that spirits, during the prohibition, were made so poorly that fruit had to be added just to make them bearable (Kosevich, 2009).

So whether you are a purist wanting to prove your historical sense of this cocktail, or you're the type that enjoys an entire fruit salad muddled into your Old-Fashioned, I hope you enjoyed this extremely brief look at one of the world's most misunderstood cocktails. Now you know why one of the first cocktails invented was referred to as an Old-Fashioned. So while you're enjoying making your own Old-Fashioned, listen to this fine diddy, because it's 5 o'clock somewhere

The Playlist:

1806 Old-Fashioned

3 oz Rye**
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 Sugar cube*
1 tsp Water*
1 sliver Lemon zest

* This is essentially simple syrup, so if you are in a rush (or lazy) you can substitute 0.5 - 1 oz of simple syrup for these two ingredients.

** After reviewing many bartending sites the preferred alcohol is Rye because it is much less sweet than Bourbon. "Purists," don't hate, because there will always be a place for Bourbon in the Old-Fashioned. 

Sarsaparilla Old-Fashioned

3 oz Rye
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz Sarsaparilla infused simple syrup***
1 sliver Orange zest

*** In small pot: bring 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp sarsaparilla root to a gentle boil until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out sarsaparilla root.

The Skinny:
  1. In an old-fashioned glass (now usually referred to as a rocks glass) muddle sugar cube, bitters, and water together until a paste forms. Rotate the glass on an angle so that the sugar paste coats the lining of the glass. Or if you are using simple syrup simply put the simple syrup in the glass (a bit of a tongue twister).
  2. Add rye (or bourbon), a large ice cube, and the lemon zest.

Stay Rad - h

No comments:

Post a Comment