The first use of the name "Old Fashioned" for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail was said to have been at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen's club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe was said to have been invented by a bartender at that club in honour of Colonel James E. Pepper, a prominent bourbon distiller, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City
The very nature of the Old-Fashioned cocktail means that the character and style of your chosen bourbon will influence the character and style of the drink you create. For example, an Old-Fashioned mixed using Wild Turkey 101 will differ profoundly in flavour and ‘punch’ compared to one mixed using Woodford Reserve.
In a sense, whilst the ritual (there appear to be as many different processes as there are bartenders!) and technique of physically combining and blending the ingredients will have a measurable impact on the smoothness of the final blend, in truth, nothing impacts the final result as much as the choice of whisky used.
To this end, I come to my Archive Old-Fashioned, mixed using the fabulous Glenlivet 21 Archive.
First consider what this whisky brings to the party. The sherry wood influence is clear as day on the nose with fruitcake and maple syrup front and centre. There is also a touch of sandalwood incense to be had. The taste has raisins and nuts as you might expect from the barrel aging as well. The whisky is sweet for most of the ride but finishes with wood and aromatic spice. In short (in my humble opinion) it was almost made for this cocktail!
So, if you want to experience an Old-Fashioned that’ll blow your mind over Christmas, check this recipe out.
The Archive Old-Fashioned
Glenlivet 21 Archive
Fee Brothers Old-Fashioned Bitters
Peel of Orange
Firstly, make sure you have a decent sized rocks/old-fashioned/tumbler glass (minimum 12oz). Begin by adding the sugar cube and 4 dashes of the Fee Brothers bitters. If you swill the sugar around the glass it should absorb the bitters. Now add a little of the Archive (10ml or so) and muddle the sugar and bitters until mostly dissolved. Now add 2-3 ice cubes and enough Archive to cover the ice. Stir for 10 seconds to help combine the flavours and further dissolve the remaining sugar granules. Now add 2-3 more cubes of ice. Take the Maraschino cherry and squeeze slightly so that a few drops of juice/syrup release into the drink. Now drop the cherry in, add more Archive to cover the ice again and then stir once more to combine the additional flavours. Next fill the remaining space with ice, twist the orange oils, tuck the peel down the inside of the glass and top up with the Archive. Finally stir once more to blend the orange oils, add a little more dilution for smoothness and dissolve any remaining sugar granules.