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Crafting Cocktails – the Old-Fashioned Way!
Many craft cocktail fans are already familiar with the Old-Fashioned as an intoxicating mix of whiskey and bitters and, well, who knows what else? As an aspiring young bartender I was always vexed by that last part. Every person I would ask had a different recipe and every bar I would order it from gave me a different cocktail, but a little history lesson quickly proves the answer to be much simpler than the complex array of muddled fruit beverages in which I initially found myself searching.
Prior to the explosion of the American cocktail movement and long before Prohibition, the term ‘Cocktail’ referred to a drink in which the base spirit was tempered slightly by the addition of sugar, bitters, and water, for times when unadulterated spirits might prove a bit too abrasive. Over time, bartenders began experimenting with more and more creative concoctions, and by the time Prohibition found the nation struggling to find a palate for bathtub moonshine the term ‘Cocktail’ had come to refer to just about any mixture involving spirits, leaving lovers of the original recipe referring to their favorite standby as an ‘Old-Fashioned Cocktail.’
These days, the Old-Fashioned makes appearances on cocktail menus across the country sporting a variety of muddled citrus fruit, cherries, and sodas to tantalize the palate, but I myself prefer to drink my whiskey with just a few dashes of bitters, sugar to taste, and maybe a splash of water, because as much as I love the art of mixology and the spirit of innovation this is one drink that is still best done, well… the Old-Fashioned way!
Lido at Dolphin Bay Manager and Resident Mixologist, Collin Tharp.