The Old-Fashioned is the quintessential classic cocktail. In the title of his new book devoted to its history, New York Times drinks writer Robert Simonson calls it the “world’s first classic cocktail.”
But classic shouldn’t be confused with unchanging. As Simonson makes clear in his well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable “The Old-Fashioned,” the drink was pretty much designed to be customized.
And not only by savvy barkeeps with access to coriander syrup and specific Aquavits, although their contributions to the Old-Fashioned canon are included in a lengthy compendium of recipes, old and new (yes, Wisconsin’s famed brandy Old-Fashioned merits a page.) The Old-Fashioned is a chance for cocktailians who’ve fallen into the habit of ceding spirit decisions to the experts to have a say about what’s in their glasses. Continue reading