Label me old fashioned, but I am addicted to Old Fashioned cocktails. The Old Fashioned is one of the legendary and stable cocktails, with a rich history that has been bastardized over time. Don’t get me wrong, I like Old Fashioneds whether they are traditional or modern, But the other day, I had an excellent traditional Old Fashioned Old Fashioned that just made me re-think why the modern Old Fashioned cocktail even exists. One with cherries, oranges, and more. Today’s concoctions are riddled and laced with fruits, ice and other ingredients that drown the flavor of the true Old Fashioned and make it less manly.
An Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned cocktail
The good ole Old Fashioned is a bourbon whiskey cocktail that was birthed in the 1880s. Much like all alcoholic spirits of the old days, there were medicinal and herbal justifications for drinking it and getting smashed. This cocktail is served in a short, round, 8-12 ounce glass called the Old Fashioned glass. No martini glasses or umbrellas.
An Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned recipe is a simple mix of lump sugar, water, dashes of Angostura bitters, one decent sized piece of ice, bourbon and a lemon peel. To read about the actual steps of the recipe, click here. And that is all.
Differences between Old Fashioned Old Fashioned and Modern
The modern day Old Fashioned is a circus of orange peels, different types of bitters, lots of dilution thanks to too much ice, ridiculous amounts of syrups, and of course, Maraschino cherries. It has lost its manly appeal. The cherries and orange peels are smashed into the cocktail, making the drink fruitier and unfortunately turning it into a sugary basin. The subtle flavors of the bitters get muddled away and the taste of the bourbon hidden. And that is a damn shame.
Some claim this modern Old Fashioned recipe came about during Prohibition, to assist in masking the heavy alcoholic content. Others preach that this is just another example of how our drinking society is veering away from the drinks that put hair on one’s chest towards cocktails massacred with fruity overtones and sweet bases.
So if you can, try to find and get your Old Fashioned cocktails crafted in the original manner, with less fruit and more attention to the actual alcohol.
Drink Old Fashioned cocktail with fatty pig
The Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned is made to eat with manly, ultra fatty dishes. The other day, I was at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, MA. This restaurant is a foodie paradise. Its menu is the perfect composition of dishes that use unique parts of the animals, deploy modern techniques, and implement all of its artistic ambitions with a warm, rustic overtone. One of its awesome dishes include the pig’s head for two. This is a dish loaded with unctuous and beautiful layers of gooey pig fat and succulent cheek and jaw meat. Food this rich is difficult to pair with, but it found its match with the Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned.
We were struggling to come up with a wine we thought could stand up to such blubbery cuisine. Our waiter, thinking outside of the box and knowing that we’ve been drinking bourbon and scotch before dinner pulled a rabbit out of his hat. He suggested the Old Fashioned, but not the way we are accustomed enjoying it. Rather, the real, Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned. No fruits, a simple lemon peel, minimal ice, so the bourbon and bitter shine. Chemistry.com couldn’t be any more proud of how fantastic the combination of the dry, bitter Old Fashioned, Old Fashioned paired with the heavy yet unreal pig’s head.