Pause the World please, we have a very special announcement to make.
It’s Old Fashioned Week!!! Not as in a week where we do everthing without modern day technology and talk in outdated vernacular. No this is way better than that this is a Worldwide week long celebration of the father of all Cocktails. In recent years the Old Fashioned has been pushed back into popularity due to the Don Draper drinking them like they were a breakfast, medicine and a general life source on the popular series Broadwalk Empire.
A test of a true barman is in their ability, pride and technique to create a classic Old Fashioned. Many a bar has seen the back of me due to a subpar Old Fashioned. Some of us here at Gee have actually walked away just at the sight of the wrong ingredients, preparation or serving of an Old Fashioned. This is a drink that we truly enjoy around here in classic form and in some of the more modern experimentations. Two of the best Old Fashioneds I have personally have been served were a Butterscotch Old Fashioned in 2016 London Cocktail Week served in the Old Fashioned Room at the Central London Hub, And the other was a mixed rum old Fashioned at The Rumpus Rooms Bar. The latter was so good that the bar tender refused to let me pay for it because he was so happy to be challenged to make something so complex from such a simple classic cocktail.
The Worldwide festive that is Old Fashioned Week was founded in 2015 by Michael Landart of the Maria Loca bar in Paris and Cyrille Hugon, involving 50 landmark bars in France, which then grew to 180 international bars in 2016, with 14 countries involved. 2017 is set to triple this target.
OFW is an event that is open to all establishments that lay claim to serving a quality cocktail and are passionate about cocktail culture. The initiative involves events and masterclasses organised by the participating bars and/or the principal partner brands of spirits. It is very much also a celebration for consumers –to immerse themselves in the exuberant world of an ever-fashionable cocktail, made to perfection.
The popular belief is that the Old Fashioned was created at the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884, where it was developed by the bartender and a James E. Pepper who was a member of the club, and co-owners of the bourbon Pepper.
Another historical viewpoint dates its inspiration to 1806; and its first recipe in print to 1895, in Modern American. Some of you may have thought it was invented by Don Draper of Mad Men who can probably be noted for it’s popularity as the most ordered drink at a cocktail bar.
International Old Fashion Week runs for ten days in November (yes we know that’s technically not a week), bartenders around the world will rally to set aside their shakers, and reach for their mixing spoons. Old Fashioned Week (OFW) will sweep into town for this global celebration of the father of all cocktails. This embassy of top spirits experts and writers will help inspire bars to serve up the most classic, innovative, original, premium or daringly different Old Fashioned cocktails. They aim to extend the legend that makes it the most enduring and popular cocktail in quality bars (in the World’s 50 Best Bars). Bars are invited to participate by registering on the OFW website by 20 October; all set for Old Fashioned Week from 2-11 November. So expect to hear that call of the Old Fashioned, enticing discerning cocktail drinkers to their favourite bars. www.old-fashioned-week.com
How to make a classic Old Fashioned
Glass: old fashioned/tumbler/rocks glass
4cl spirit. Choose bourbon/rum/rye whiskey/Scotch whisky/cognac
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
1 sugar cube
1 sliver of orange zest
1 maraschino cocktail cherry
Muddle the bitters and sugar with a splash of soda for 1 minute in the glass. Add the spirit and fill the glass with ice, and stir until the liquid is ice cold. Garnish with the orange zest and cherry (optional).
The sensations of taste should be fruity-aromatic with citrus sweetness, whilst letting the pure, punchy spirit flavours shine through.
Generally, its requisites are that it is a short cocktail, and it should always be garnished.