It was in 1806 that The Balance and Columbian Repository answered an editorial question asking “what a ‘cocktail’ was“. Their answer: “A a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.“.
Right then and there the ultimate template came into existence. Whatever happened before and whatever would happen in the following two centuries (until this day and age), got its characteristics. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bartender, mixologist, cocktail consultant, or whatever: That fateful day in history marked the outlines of one of the essential cornerstones of alcoholic tipples.
The ‘Old Fashioned‘, which is essentially a drink built to meet the classic requirements of ‘the Cocktail’, didn’t exist back in te early 1800’s. You ordered ‘cocktails’, ‘improved cocktails’ and other mixed drinks with dashes and splashes of this and that added, with whatever name provided. For decades bartenders had already gotten creative with the addition of Syrups and Liqueurs (Yes, Jerry Thomas, you as well!) and ultimately it took until 1895, that in ‘Modern American Drinks‘, a book by George J. Kappeler, the ‘Brandy Old Fashioned’ appeared as the first published recipe for an ‘Old Fashioned Cocktail’.
The name referred to the old style of serving ‘the Cocktail’, making sure that its simple buildup would never be forgotten. And it didn’t. Anno 2018 it is still the best-selling cocktail in high-end bars worldwide.
The concept of ‘Old Fashioned Week‘, a 10 day celebration of this historical drink, was founded in 2015, in 2017 it got global and by now, over 1200 bars worldwide have joined in the festivities.
The organisation teamed up with six brands (Angostura Bitters from Trinidad, Havana Club 7 Rum from Cuba, Monkey Shoulder Whisky from the UK, Pierre Ferrand Cognac from France, Rhum JM from Martinique, Woodford Reserve Bourbon from the USA) and every where, including on social media, people have been challenged to serve their most creative or classic versions of ‘the father of cocktails’.
Thanks to local importers I was lucky enough to team up with all six brands as well, and today I am presenting you six drinks, each of them highlighting the beautiful flavors of the brands that are cooperating with the OFW Organisation. Have fun checking them out, I had a blast creating them.
1. ANGOSTURA AROMATIC BITTERS & 1919 RUM
I named this drink ‘THE OLD MEDICIN’. It’s a tryptich of Angostura products: The 1919 Rum, the Amaro and the Aromatic Bitters. Served up with a garnish of star anise. (Click on the picture for full recipe)
2. MONKEY SHOULDER ‘TRIPLE MALT’ WHISKY
Combining Whisky with Maple Syrup, a homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup and two type of Bitters, this is ‘THE OLD INJURY’. The name refers to the origin of the name ‘Monkey Shoulder’. (Click on the picture for full recipe and story)
3. PIERRE FERRAND 1840 COGNAC
Cognac, Pedro Ximenez Sherry and Chocolate Bitters, a beautiful combination of bitter and sweet. The 1840 is an example of a three-star-cognac, an old style that knows its origin in the cocktail world, hence the name ‘THE OLD STYLE’. (Click on the picture for full recipe and story)
4. RHUM J.M. VO
Making an old fashioned with Agricole Rhum is divine. This time combined with the stunning Amaro Montenegro and Clement Creole Shrubb, a classic style of liqueur made with Agricole Rums and Orange Peels. ‘THE OLD FLAME’ is named after the second aging the rum undergoes in charred ex-broubon barrels. (Click on the picture for full recipe)
5. WOODFORD RESERVE BOURBON
This Bourbon Old Fashioned is an example of an interactive cocktail, served to guests and letting them do part of the work. It’s a fun way to add a wow-factor and an ‘oooh’ effect. Hence the name ‘THE OLD CRAFT’. Served with a rock-candy stirrer. (Click on the picture for full recipe)
6. HAVANA CLUB 7 RUM
A Rum that takes me back to when I first started looking for something else than Gin and Spiced Rums, it was easy to find, had depth, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. With it, I made ‘THE OLD HARBOR’, reminiscent of Havana. I’m not a smoker in any way, but I wouldn’t mind others smoke a good cigar in my presence while drinking this one. (Click on the picture for full recipe)
Disclaimer: All pictures, text and recipes are property of Matthias Soberon / Served By Soberon. Nothing can be used or copied without written permission of the author and the addition of credits.