No, I’m not actually prepared to throw down over mixology. But I do feel compelled to defend my state’s signature cocktail. From the New York Times:
What does it take to get a decent old-fashioned in this town?
After asking himself that question too many times, the cocktail autodidact Martin Doudoroff decided to do something about it. The result is Old Fashioned 101, a bare bones Web site in which he spells out in painstaking detail how to build what many historians and mixologists regard as the grandaddy of American mixed drinks.
A noble pursuit, I imagine. But what’s this?
By god, them’s fighting words! It’s never a bad thing to reflect upon first principles, but there’s also no need to be pedantic. Let’s look back at another view from a few years back, also from the New York Times:
Growing up in Wisconsin, I had an ingrained awareness — and disgust — of the state’s insular signature drink, the brandy old-fashioned. It was what people drank before and after football games or ice fishing. I considered it insipidly sweet and townie lowbrow, and I left before I was enough of a drinker to be proven otherwise…
But considering it a simpleton’s drink was my mistake. It’s more a family of drinks, revolving around a central theme. There are four main ways to order it: sweet, with 7 Up; sour (which is not), with sour mix or Squirt; “press” with half 7 Up and half seltzer; or seltzer only. There are regional garnish customizations using pickled vegetables — including mushrooms, asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, brussels sprouts and olives — that seem counterintuitive until you taste the salty, vinegar tang playing off of the spice of the bitters and the sweet thrum of the brandy. By God, our great-grandparents were on to something.
Damn right. Let’s not dispense of a rich, fruity tradition so casually.
Photo from Wikipedia.