In 1888 this famous cocktail officially appeared in a cocktail book named The Bartender’s Manual written by Theodore Proulx. Proulx hailed from the famous Chicago bar called Chaplin & Gore where he tended bar with artistic flare. A trendy, sophisticated establishment known to house the movers and the shakers within Chicago’s influential social circles, the patrons of Chaplin & Gore demanded refinement. Proulx delivered.
Since then, the Old Fashioned sits in the company of the Martini and Manhattan. Simple, refined, pure cocktails un-tainted by gimmicks and syrups. The trio hold the bar all drinks aspire to reach.
For a time, the Old Fashioned was played with. And in many bars and restaurants today, it still is. From additions such as Absinthe, too layers of fruit and syrups, the modest drink can at times be cast aside. However once introduced to the authentic staple, cocktail lovers tend to be hooked and the Old Fashioned has held its place as the “Grandfather” of the classic sipper.
What makes an Old Fashioned sought after? Why do we love it so much? I am sure there are many reasons however the most obvious one is simplicity. You know what you are getting with an Old Fashioned. Sugar, Bitters, water, and Whisky / Bourbon. Garnished with an orange peel and if you really find a place that knows their stuff, a spoon to mix it all together. The appeal of the large chunk of ice. The weight of heavy bottomed “Old Fashioned” glass. Yes. Glassware is named after this cocktail. It’s a sexy drink. A showy sipper. A demonstration of elegance as it sits in your hand. The drinker of an Old Fashioned, knows what the finer things in life taste like.
The Manhattan Club owns the Manhattan, Bond covets the Martini, and Don Draper slickly orders his Old Fashioned. Time has not hindered this group. They simply get better with age.