MxMo XXX–MAKE IT ANOTHER OLD-FASHIONED, PLEASE

Due to circumstances beyond my control, well laziness basically, I am going to recycle this MxMo post from a year and a half ago. Besides, I’m off to my home state, Wisconsin, land of the Brandy Old-Fashioned. Ya so, dat Old-Fashioned ting is perfectly apropos of the “Local Flavor” theme, dere hey.

Cheers to Kevin Kelpe of Save the Drinkers for hosting this round.

MAKE IT ANOTHER OLD-FASHIONED, PLEASE
Cole Porter, 1940
[…]
there are moments, sooner or later
When it’s tough, I got to say, love to say … Waiter

Make it another old-fashioned, please
Make it another, double, old-fashioned, please
[…]

There’s an art to the Old-Fashioned cocktail. It’s a simple thing, yet when you order it in two bars, you will seldom receive the same cocktail twice.

By the time Jerry Thomas published his “Bartender’s Guide” in the late 1800s, a whiskey cocktail had come to be a shaken “up” cocktail. Due respect to Mr. Thomas, I stirred, and did not shake with crushed ice.

Whiskey Cocktail

Whiskey Cocktail
(Use small bar-glass.)
Take 3 or 4 dashes of gum syrup. (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 dashes of bitters (Boker’s). (Angostura)
1 wine-glass of whiskey. (2oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye)

Fill one-third full of fine ice ; shake and strain in a fancy red wine-glass. Put in a piece of twisted lemon peel in the glass and serve.

Some authors posit that the Old-Fashioned Cocktail came by its name as a shortened version of something like, “I’ll have a Whiskey Cocktail made in the Old Fashioned Manner”. That is to say, not shaken and served on the rocks. Presumably, a “Really Old-Fashioned” would be whiskey, water, syrup and bitters. From the Savoy Cocktail Book:

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

Old-Fashioned Cocktail
1 Lump Sugar (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky (2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye)

Crush Sugar and bitters together, add lump of ice, decorate with twist of lemon peel and slice of orange using medium size glass, and stir well. This Cocktail can be made with Brandy, Gin, Rum, etc., instead of Rye Whisky.

Some time in the 20th century, Bourbon replaced the Rye as the whiskey of choice in the Old-Fashioned, and even stranger, bartenders began to muddle the garnish in the glass with the bitters and sugar. Also, for better or worse, soda crept into the mix. From Charles Schumann’s, “American Bar”:

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned
1 Sugar Cube (Barspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Bourbon (W.L. Weller 12 Year)
soda (skipped)
stemmed cherry
orange
lemon

Place sugar cube in an old-fashioned glass saturate with Angostura, add orange and lemon wedges, press with a pestle, add Bourbon, stir well, add ice cubes, fill with soda or water, stir again, garnish with cherry.

Even odder, in Wisconsin, the liquor of choice in Old-Fashioneds is not Whiskey at all, but Brandy (preferably Korbel). Wisconsinites, being cold weather folk, also have a tendency to make these rather large, and sometimes give you a choice of “Sweet” or “Sour”. “Sour” includes a spritz of Soda and “Sweet” a spritz of 7-Up.

Brandy Old-Fashion, Sour

Muddled Brandy Old-Fashioned (Sour)

Recipe identical to the Schumann Old-Fashioned recipe; but, with a generous 2 oz pour of Korbel Brandy instead the Bourbon.

Lately, however, I have found a return, in a few local bars, to the Savoy style stirred Rye Old-Fashioneds, with or without the orange and cherry garnish. This makes ordering an Old-Fashioned somewhat less of a crap shoot. Though, the bartenders do tend to ask if you’re sure you want it that way.

MAKE IT ANOTHER OLD-FASHIONED, PLEASE
Cole Porter, 1940
[…]
So, make it another old-fashioned, please

Leave out the cherry,
Leave out the orange,
Leave out the bitters
Just make it Straight Rye.

Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Sazerac 18 year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

And, of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a drink of real old fashioned rye whiskey.

For further, more erudite reading on the Brandy Old-Fashioned subject, check Robert Simonson’s Off the Presses for this article: Brandy Old-Fashioned

Edit – Fixed song lyrics. Thanks Bryndon!

3 thoughts on “MxMo XXX–MAKE IT ANOTHER OLD-FASHIONED, PLEASE

  1. The rye old fashioned; one of my “go to” drinks. I do prefer it in the old fashioned manner, but add a piece of orange peel before stirring in the glass. It’s also amazing with your favorite gin! Either with angostura, or, substitute a dash of Peychaud’s and and dash of Regan’s orange bitters. I almost always twist a piece of lemon after stirring. That said, when in Wisconsin, I’ll drink that style of brandy old fashioned “sour”. I have seen them ordered with some bizarre garnishes such as substituting olives or pickled mushrooms for the cherries…. I don’t recommend it.

  2. I always thought the lyric was to make it straight rye! Without the orange and cherry and bitters Panama Hattie is asking for undiluted whiskey. Am I wrong? Have you seen a lyric sheet? I only have a 78 of the song and that’s what I thought I understood from the record. I’m one of the guys in the seersucker suits you met in New Orleans and at Cantina.. the friend of Thad’s and Tim Stookey. Please clarify this detail for me! It changes my whole conception of the song as Ethel Merman sang it in 1940! By the way, I enjoyed very much your talk at the “Making Your Own Cocktail Ingredients” lecture!

  3. Hey Bryndon, nice to hear from you.

    I was going from internet transcriptions, but you’re probably right. “Straight Rye” makes more sense than “Straight Right.”

    Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter seems to agree (google books link).

    In any case, yep, that’s my understanding of the end of the second refrain. The narrator of the song is saying, “Make it straight whiskey.”

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