Ah, for a return to the good ol’ days of drinking and social order — or simply the idea of it as expressed through Mad Men, since that’s where people seem to get these ideas.
Kevin Schnobb, bartender at The Manx Pub, says there’s been a spike in requests for certain drinkies since Pete Campbell got a promotion. Schnobb — and who doesn’t love to learn mixology from a bartender with that groovy name? — shows DREW GOUGH how to make that oldest of old-fashioned drinks: the Old Fashioned.
STEP ONE Choose an Appropriate Glass
Face it. You’re making an Old Fashioned to look cool. The key is to find an unassuming glass that isn’t trying very hard to look cool and therefore looks even cooler for not trying that hard. Use a short cocktail glass, variously called a lowball, rocks, or — get this! — an Old Fashioned glass.
STEP TWO Contradict
Drop a sugar cube, half a teaspoon of sugar, or some simple syrup* into your cool but not too cool but pretty cool tumbler. Then, contradictorily, immediately cut the sweetness by adding a few drops of Angostura Bitters**. Let the bitters moisten the sugar, and roll the glass to make a bittersweet coating.
STEP THREE Booze It Up
Here’s where things get complicated. You’ve got a sugary/sour mess in a hot-looking glass, but now you need it to make you drunk. Traditional Old Fashioneds have bourbon. You can use any kind of whiskey, including — yech — rye. Pour two ounces of whatever you choose into your glass.
STEP FOUR Water It Down
A classic Old Fashioned ends here: a sweetened glass and as much bourbon as you please. But during Prohibition, crafty bartenders hid the flavour of the hooch from The Man with soda water (two ounces), some ice cubes (one or two), and a fruity garnish (orange slices, maraschino cherries, and other such abominations).
STEP FIVE Consume With Panache in Check
Be warned: This drink is incredibly delicious, but part of drinking it while exuding cool is trying not to shout, “Tarnation! This concoction has simply made me bellows to mend!” No, keep that inside, drinking while ignoring anything that’s been added to the glass after step three. Ultimately, discard the straw nonchalantly and drink straight from the lowball.
* Drop two parts sugar into one part boiling water, stir, cool.
** Find these in the pop aisle at the grocery store or at some liquor stores.