The first reference to a “cocktail” was that of an Old Fashioned recipe. In an 1806 issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson, New York, the editor responds to a reader’s inquiry to define the term. To which they replied that it was a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water and sugar.
Over the next century an Old Fashioned could be made with any number of base spirits and often mixed with orange liqueur. By the mid 19th century whiskey was the standard spirit used, combined with bitters, water and sugar. It is balanced and in essence the “perfect” cocktail.
SUGAR CUBE, Or 1 tsp sugar or .25 oz simple syrup
BITTERS, Preferably Angostura
WARM WATER, If using sugar cube or sugar
1. In a double rocks glass, muddle sugar and bitters with a splash of warm water
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