with Harding Young

One Sunday We Drank Old Fashioneds

And then on Monday we killed them all.

I mentioned earlier that the best companion to a John D. MacDonald novel on a hot summer night is a cold Old Fashioned.

This is just one of life’s simple, unqualified truths. But you gotta do it right. Face it, when McAran tore apart the quiet world of Brook City, and rested on the seventh day, he wouldn’t settle for a poorly made beverage saturated with too much fruit. Otherwise, the carnage the morning would bring would fall short of the full-on slaughter he’d planned.

So, when you sit down on Sunday to read One Monday We Killed Them All, prepare your cocktail with care, and respect the history of one of America’s greatest creations.

This drink is actually very simple to make. You’re best to visit oldfashioned101.com to get the full list of instructions, including a most helpful rationale for the methodology. As Martin Doudoroff explains:

Circa 1800, the Cocktail was a “hair of the dog” morning drink that tamed spirits with water, sugar and bitters (patent medicine). The late 19th Century expanded the use of the word “cocktail” to encompass just about any mixed drink. Since then, the Old Fashioned—literally, the old-fashioned way of making a cocktail—has been our contemporary expression of the original drink.

Here’s the gist…

Old Fashioned

1. Pick a glass, make it simple and big enough for your ice.
2. Sweeten. Best to use a bit of simple syrup, but a bit of granulated sugar or a sugar cube muddled with a bit of water and bitters will do.
3. Add a splash or two of bitters (to taste). Old Fashioned bitters, or Angostura will work. Pechaud is also a good choice.
3. Add your favourite spirit. You can’t lose with rye or bourbon.
4. Stir. You’ve got an old fashioned. But, if you like, add some ice. Best to use a single, large block, but regardless, make sure it’s fresh.
5. Add a twist or lemon or orange peel. Twist over the glass so that the oils mix with your drink. I like to use one of each.

And, for the sake of clarity, I’m going to quote Old Fashioned 101 on all the things you absolutely should NOT DO!

Just so we’re perfectly clear:

There is no orange slice in an Old Fashioned.
There is no cherry in an Old Fashioned.
You do not mash up fruit of any kind in an Old Fashioned. To do so implies a perverted nastiness of mind.
There is no seltzer, soda water, ginger ale, or lemon soda in an Old Fashioned.
There is no vermouth of any kind in an Old Fashioned.
There is no beer in an Old Fashioned.
There is no lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice or sour mix in an Old Fashioned.
There are no frothing agents in an Old Fashioned.
You do not shake an Old Fashioned.

On Tuesday… you can take a break.

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