For centuries, the Old Fashioned has remained a staple at bars around the world. “It is literally the definitive cocktail,” says Sam Treadway, owner of Backbar in Somerville, Massachusetts. “Once upon a time, the word ‘cocktail’ meant specifically this one drink.” As trendy, newer cocktails were invented, it became known as the “Old Fashioned cocktail.”
Will Benedetto, opening beverage director and bar consultant at The Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in Nashville, says the Old Fashioned is highly versatile with whiskey—and beyond. “Any spirit—any worth drinking—can be made into an enlightening Old Fashioned,” he says.
It’s doubtful that the elaborate craft cocktails of today will be remembered in a century. But owing to its short list of common ingredients and simplicity, the Old Fashioned endures.
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