As most of you probably know far too well, the plight of the Old Fashioned is one of my pet peeves. With the vast majority of bartenders around the world making such a disaster in a glass that it is almost beyond my comprehension.
Periodically, I encounter bartenders who will add a "splash" of sweet vermouth to my OF. When I ask the bartender about this, they politely tell me that this is how they were taught to make an Old Fashioned. To date, I don't recall having ever seen this listed in a recipe. Has anybody else?
I've never seen it in a recipe.
I don't know much about cocktails (yet) and one of my "things" is to learn basics, the roots, the history, before experimenting with 1001 different cocktails...the Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Side Car, etc...are the cocktails I've been learning about, drinking, etc.
I find that many bars...and even bartenders at the same bar, make an old fashioned differently. I've had lime wedges, an ounch of club, muddled, not muddled, muddled then removed, half muddled, bourbon, rye, etc...and the answer always seems the same "that's how they were tought"
Sadly, I can only count the number of bars in a 20ish mile radius that can actually make an old fashion and sazerac....and heck, I only live 40 mintues from NYC!
Sounds like somewhere a long the lines whomever taught these had a scandelous relationship with a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned...and had an incest cocktail.
http://randallpmcmurphy.blogspot.com - I cook a lot and take a rediculous amount of pictures...
While I've never seen that published as a recipe in any book or on any site, for Repeal Day in LA, Dewar's were running a drinks special in a collection of downtown bars. At the Broadway Bar (my first stop that evening for $.75 drinks), they had a Dewar's Old Fashioned on the menu for the night that included sweet vermouth for some unknown reason. Was the first time I had ever seen that.
It's cerntainly not in the old recipes, but ironically one does find sweet vermouth in many of the oldest Sazerac recipes. Go figure.
Oh the Bartender is just like a mother to me / And I am his favorite child. --Slim Gaillard
I've only had this start happening to me since this summer, but I've definitely been seeing a lot of it ever since. I even whined about it over on my blog.
I've once argued that it is strange to see few mixed drinks making use of the combination vermouth + gin while one of the most popular drinks, the Dry Martini, uses both these two ingredients, which is believed to be a perfect match of herbal flavours.
Back to whisky and vermouth again (still off topic as it does not answer the question):
I personally like to make an old fashioned style cocktail with a different base than whisky. The practice of using a different base than whisky is minimally a century old (at least the savoy cocktail book tells that the old fashioned can be made with rum, brandy, gin, etc.). So why not try to make an old fashioned with a Manhattan base? -> Voilà, a 'Manhattan old fashioned'.
While the above explanation for the existence of the recipe (intentional experimentation with the old fashioned recipe) might be nice, I believe it is more probable that the "wrong" recipe became into being because of accidentally mixing up of two recipes. For many people the old fashioned and the manhattan might be about the same type of drink. Such a recipe might easily proliferate among beerbartenders by means of word of mouth. I think it may be possible that there are no books containing this recipe. Maybe there are some (non bartender) internet forums, blogs or websites which spread this recipe.
Tinus, I too love to make Old Fashioneds with other spirits than whiskey. This is why this drink is listed in older cocktails books almost always as "Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail" to indicate that it is being made with whiskey. Since other variations very rarely appear, it of course didn't take long for it to get shortened simply to "Old Fashioned", and everybody knew what you really meant.
As for using a "Manhattan" as a base for the Old Fashioned, what you are actually talking about is essentially serving a Manhattan on the rocks, and calling it an Old Fashioned. Ok, so you add some sugar, and you perhaps muddle some fruit.
A problem with this, is that "Old Fashioned" is intended to indicate that the drink is made with "Spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters", which is how all cocktails were made in the old fashioned days of the cocktail... in the later half of the 1800's, a new upstart "cocktail" came onto the scene, which used vermouth, and sometimes other ingredients, and replaced the older format. Which is why when people wanted a drink the "old fashioned" way, they ask for... well... an old fashioned cocktail. So making a Manhattan variation of an Old Fashioned, is sort of like tie-dying a tuxedo :->
Robert, what's the perfect Old Fashioned to you?
Somewhere around here I have the recipe book for the Museum Of The American Cocktail, and I imagine that's what you will write, but what kind of spirts go in your favorite/perfect Old Fashioned?
Liberty Bar :: Seattle, WA :: Alcohology
Quite frankly, I am quite satified with an OF made with quite a bit of flexibility. If a bartender gets 50% toward my ideal of a perfect OF I am estatic! :->
The way I make my OF, which I will be the first to admit is probably not quite "exactly" the same as is printed in any of your books, the basic process is:
Build in an Old Fashioned Glass:
But like I said I am very happy with multiple variations.
Yes, Mr. Hess' Old Fashioned is basically what my understanding of the original Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail was.
Rye or BourbonLoaf sugar (or simple syrup)Water (provided by the ice)Bitters (Boker's was likely the bitters of choice - why don't we bring back Boker's, Mr. Hess? Let's recreate it, bottle it and market it. I imagine it would fly off the shelves. Think L. Funke, Jr.'s estate would mind? The patent has got to be way expired. But I digress...)
The addition of the muddled cherry and orange came later for some reason, but it certainly seems to be the most common recipe today.
Vermouth is a strange bastardization and does not belong in a classic or modern Old Fashioned. Although I believe it could make for a tasty variation, it should not be sold as an "Old Fashioned".
A couple of my modern-day decendents of the Old Fashioned, Sazarac, Manhattan, etc. include:
2 1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth
1 Tbs Bitter Orange Marmalade
2 dashes Sage Bitters
Wash glass w/ absinthe. Muddle, mix, shake & double strain into glass.
Lady Shannon1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye 1001/2 oz Benedictine1/2 oz Cherry Heering1 oz Grapefruit juice1/2 oz Lime juice1 Tbs Bitter Orange MarmaladeMuddle, mix, shake & strain.
Upstate Sour1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye 1001 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth1 oz Meyer Lemon juice1/2 oz Maple SyrupMix, shake and strain into cocktail glass.
Robert and his god damn OF... jeesh
You're just pissed because you don't know how to make one properly!
You haven't ordered one from me in like 2 years. next time you come in, I'm sticking you behind the bar and having you make me one. neener neener!
Cool. When then will we see 'Guest Bartender Robert Hess' at Vessel? Robert, you're welcome to come by Liberty and practice. Things are basically the same here but with a more expansive liquor selection and (sadly) less labor-intensive ice...
Oh. I slay me.