There are a lot of arguments that can be made for innovation and ingenuity, after all, that is how we move forward. I am a big supporter of lifelong learning and being adaptable enough to change your opinion when the facts change. That said, a thing should be what it is. I cannot stress this enough. Maybe as I approach the half century mark I am getting bit stodgy, but the older I get the more I find myself turned off by new versions of old things that only loosely resemble the original. So, with that in mind, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Irish Old-Fashioned.
This drink was created by the good folks over at Shanky’s Whip, a wonderful Irish whiskey liqueur. Let’s get this out of the way, I am not sure that this is actually an “according to Hoyle” Old-Fashioned. Kind of like the classic Martini, there are a ton of drinks out there called Old-Fashioned that don’t really meet the criteria of whiskey, bitters, water and sugar as prescribed in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 “The Bar-Tenders Guide“. Even if you jump all the way back to 1806 when The Balance and Columbian Repository newspaper of New York first used the term “cocktail” to describe a “concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar,” that would later be known as the Old-Fashioned, you still might have to squint to see this drink in that light. So, with the caveat that while this drink may be Irish, it may very well not be an Old-Fashioned, let’s make one.
Grab your mixing pitcher and toss in 1 1/2 ounces of Shanky’s Whip Irish Whiskey Liqueur, 1 1/2 ounces of Aperol, 1/4 ounce of bourbon, I chose Four Roses; and 2 stabs of Regan’s Orange Bitters. Add 5-6 artisanal ice cubes and give it a good stir to the beat of The Clancy Brothers singing “Whiskey You’re The Devil” an old-fashioned Irish classic. See what I did there? I’d go a little long on the stir to get a good dilution before straining into a waiting rocks glass over a king cube. Express an orange peel over the top and toss it in along with a couple of Luxardo cherries on a pick for garnish.
Now, that is a thing of beauty to behold. Isn’t it sweet, though? My goodness. This one is a little much for me, but my wife loved it, so it just goes to show that it still takes different strokes to move the world. I like a lot of what is going on here with that interesting whiskey meets stout thing, paired with the Aperol and bourbon, but I just can’t get past the initial sugar rush. I tend to lean toward bitterness lately, in attitude and palate, so this one missed me, but it may well hit you, like a ton of sugar, so give it a try.
The clever kids over in marketing say this one is an Old-Fashioned. I have my doubts, I don’t have the spoons to argue it today. I don’t even have a solid record to stand on, since I have not bothered to make a standard Old-Fashioned over the last couple of hundred drinks. Heck, I haven’t even made one of those fruit filled muddled abominations that wander around Wisconsin wearing this name tag. Sure, I have made Bacon, Elote, Oaxacan and even a Doughnut variation, but not the original. Maybe we will have a slow day and I can buckle down and do some of that foundational work that I am always so keen to skip. Maybe not, but I have to believe that I will be better tomorrow than I am today.
It seemed fitting to celebrate here on National Cocktail Day with what many folks consider to be the first cocktail, after I hung my mixing tins by the chimney with care, of course. As I have said before, if I had any plan when this all started, I would have done a whole round of the elder drinks, before working my way down through the ages, but that did not happen and it looks like we are all just going to have to live with my past poor choices at this point. Sorry about that, like I said, I am trying, but I am still learning and I make a lot of mistakes. The good news is, it is never too late for a new beginning, so I will do my best to be better. I’m still holding out for a brighter tomorrow, I hope you are too. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.