ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE OLD FASHIONED

ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE OLD FASHIONED Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Old Fashioned is the original American cocktail. Born in Kentucky—which provides the drink its bourbon—during the last days of Reconstruction, the Old Fashioned is also the the original gentleman’s drink.

Thanks, in part, to revivalist bartenders across the U.S., imbibers of all stripes now propose their toasts with countless classic cocktails rediscovered over the last decade during what we can now safely call a vintage cocktail renaissance.

And, thanks in part to—and perhaps entirely because of—Don Draper, the fictional and ambitious 1960s ad man (and all-around cad), the Old Fashioned not only enjoys a newfound sex appeal, but is now nearly inescapable. Everyone now knows what an Old Fashioned is, and has probably more than once enjoyed one with friends.

It’s a relatively simple drink to make but with just the right touch, the Old Fashioned can be a great drink to drink. At The Original, our bartenders take high aim and begin by muddling together sugar with a splash of water, pieces of orange, thickly sliced, and one Amarena cherry, imported from Northern Italy.

After the muddling comes the architecture, or the tumble of rocks over which we pour the cocktail’s main ingredient—a potent Kentucky Bourbon from Woodford Reserve, one of the Bluegrass state’s oldest whiskey distilleries.

And to apply our finishing touch, we add and stir in two drops of Angostura bitters and, with a  nod to the past, one rather teasing drop of Portland’s own Trillium Absinthe Supérieure (alchemically distilled at Integrity Spirits just across the Willamette River), which rounds out the drink’s nose while disappearing into its complex flavor.

Propose your next toast with one, and taste for yourself the Old Fashioned’s slow and steady means to endure.