Welcome to the first blogisode of The Effortless Guide to Cocktails. This will be a semi-regular series where we discuss classic, manly cocktails you can order at any bar, anywhere in the world (probably).
Drinking ain’t what it used to be. Back in college, you could meander down to the local pub with your bros and order rounds of Jager Bombs till you vomited on your shoes and the bartender cut you off, and no one would blink an eye.
Fast forward several years, and you’ve blossomed into a career-driven, upstanding gent-in-training looking to class it up a bit, but still have a good time when you’re out at the bars.
Maybe you deal with clients during the week and find yourself ordering drinks with dinner. Perhaps you’re forced to go out with the boss a lot, and you have to watch what he orders so you can pick your drink accordingly (because it would look bad nursing a bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade while he sips his scotch neat). Or maybe you’re just tired of the vodka cranberry and you want options.
This new series explores different basic cocktails that, when ordered, will give off the impression that you 1.) have taste, 2.) know what you’re doing, 3.) are a grown-ass man and know your way around a drink list without having to read it, or 4.) all of the above.
My favorite classic cocktail is the Old-Fashioned. Simple, delicious, has history, and does its job (especially after two or three re-ups).
In an Old-Fashioned, you’ll find a combination of most of these ingredients:
- Bourbon whiskey
- orange slice
- lemon twist
- maraschino cherries
- simple syrup
- sugar cube
- soda water
The oldest-known recording of this drink is from 1895, in George Kappeler’s “Modern American Drinks”.
“Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a small piece ice, a piece lemon-peel, one jigger whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.”
If you go to a bar today, you’ll notice bartenders adding their own flair to the classic recipe, often muddling the ingredients with an orange slice, garnishing with a maraschino cherry, replacing the sugar cube with simple syrup, or topping with soda water.
Unless you’re a purist, you shouldn’t care too much about these modern additions. If you wanted to have the original (or something close to it) you can try ordering it as the original recipe suggests.
What say you?
Have you had an Old-Fashioned before? What’s your favorite classic cocktail? Do you have suggestions of other classic drinks you’d like me to cover? Let me know in the comments below.
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