Monday, March 1, 2010

Drink Six - The Old Fashioned

The final recipe of the first six drinks...The Old Fashioned!

According to Wikipedia, the Old Fashioned may have been the first cocktail.  There are many different recipes for this drink, and it has so many components, it's easy to see why some would be replaced with others (or omitted entirely).

American Bar, page 145

1 sugar cube
dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz bourbon
stemmed cherry

Place sugar cube in an old fashioned glass, saturate with Angostura, add orange and lemon wedges, press with a pestle, add bourbon, stir well, add ice cubes, fill with soda or water, stir again, garnish with cherry.

This is by far the most complicated recipe to date.  I used what little Woodford Reserve I had left for the bourbon, real deal Angostura bitters, and thankfully our local Farm Fresh Delivery service had sent oranges and lemons this past Thursday.  I had everything in the recipe at the house, except for the sugar cube and the ice cubes.  I know, I know.  You're saying to yourself "how does he not have ice cubes"?  A good question, though, if you saw the state of the freezer, you'd understand. 

It's not that my freezer is gross or anything, it's merely packed to the brim with a ton of great Costco purchases.  And, my freezer doesn't have its own ice-making machine.  The result of all of this is that I need to pick up an ice bag from time to time.  That's what I did - running to the local Village Pantry (specializing in ice bags and monthly hold-ups).

Once I had everything in place, I started trying to find something that looked like an old fashioned glass.  Not knowing what one would look like, I tried to find a lowball glass that might fit the bill.

And then...and then I gazed upon the finest glass in my collection.  Was it my quirky economics based glass that tracks the NYSE ebb and flow in the 1960's?  No, but alas, that is an outstanding piece of hardware that will definitely be used in the future.

What glass was it?  What I saw, and what would serve as the vessel for this very drink, was my Al Harrington, The South Pacific Man, glass.  I have two of them - somehow finding the pair at a thrift store many years ago.

You're saying to yourself - but I've never heard of this gentleman - who is this man of mystery?!?  I will show you...

Here is the front, announcing Mr. Harrington:

And here is the back -with Mr. Harrington himself:

Genius!!  Love this guy.

Alright, so here are all of the drinks components, including Mr. Harrington:

To the drink itself... 

I'm not sure what to make of it.  When I mashed the sugar, angostura bitters and the wedges together, the glass smelled great!  It was kind of a summer-like spice mixture that I thought would pave the way towards something excellent.

But when it came to sipping time, I was getting bits of pulp with each sip.  I like pulp in my OJ, but not in my cocktails.

It tastes like a watery bourbon drink, with a touch of bitters.  Whatever addition the sugar and fruits are adding gets diluted by the soda water.  I can taste some of the orange at times, which is a nice compliment to the bourbon, but I'd probably cut back on the soda water, or not use any at all.  I think the soda water just takes away from the flavors one would want in this drink, namely: bourbon, bitters and sweet orange and lemon.

The more I type this post out though, the more I'm sipping this drink, and liking it.  It has a refreshing quality, sitting over the ice.  And as the ice melts away, yet more of the flavor does as well.  On second thought, just skip the club soda entirely.  The ice will provide enough liquid to balance the drink out - no need for any additional water (unless watered-down drinks are your style).

The old fashioned, with the necessary adjustments, is a winner.  But the real highlight this evening is being able to share the moment with Al Harrington, The South Pacific Man!


Indianapolis Amy on March 2, 2010 at 8:00 PM said...

The Al Harrington glass is hysterical!

I also thought of this reference...

"What could happen to an Old Fashioned"
-Jim Backus in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

The Amateur Mixologist on March 3, 2010 at 12:50 PM said...

Solid reference.

It was great to pull those glass out...they will be appearing again, I am sure.

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