Clearly, creating an Old Fashioned that looks like a Martini has its challenges
I was trying yet another spin-off of the Old Fashioned, this time using the lovely and potent Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Angostura orange bitters to complement the rye. Not bad, as these riffs go, with some nice lathework by the maraschino and bitters smoothing the rye’s rough edges.
Sipping, I was moved to contemplation.
Say, [I mused], hadn’t I bought a bottle of unaged rye not long ago? And wouldn’t it be odd and [maybe] wonderful to use that clear liquor with the translucent Luxardo and the colorless orange bitters to make … a perfectly transparent Old Fashioned?
I had turned yet another suspect idea into a fool’s errand.
A long-forgotten 1950s product applies “modern” technologies to re-invent the ink-on-paper cocktail recipe book. You can figure out how this one ends
The 1950s were the flowering of American modernity — an aesthetic sensibility, tugged along by a newly affluent middle class, devoted to clean lines, simple forms, and a sense of an urgent new century unfolding.
The 1950s were also some really stupid times.
Witness the Bar Guide.
The Bar Guide is a shiny plastic device the size of a Canasta deck that updates the cocktail recipe book with “hep” modern technologies like plastic, newfangled printing methods, and a cool thumb wheel with traction grooves.
Its chief accomplishment appears to be transforming something that works quite well into something that’s confusing, hard to use, and easy to break.
And this was way before the Barnes & Noble “Nook GlowLight Plus.”
I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 80
Located at the heart of the Bar Guide is a paper scroll bearing 80 numbered cocktail recipes, each condensed to the size of a fortune cookie.
Some simple mathematical formulas can produce fine, solid cocktails. They can also produce undrinkable plonk.
Mixing drinks that don’t taste like they were wrung out of a wet t-shirt from a spring break dance party can be tough for rookie drinksmakers. This I know from hard, unpleasant experience. For this I apologize to all affected parties over the years.
Follow a formula — 2 oz base/1.5 oz modifiers equally split between sweet and sour — and it’s hard to mess up too badly, no matter what’s in the bottles. The results are solid, if unspectacular. Good bones, as they say.
“I’m from the federal government, and I’m here to help you mix a drink.”
I’ve picked up some curious artifacts in my reckless cocktail expeditioning. One of the most curious curios so far is this: A 1974 engineering diagram issued by the U.S. Forest Service documenting proper techniques for constructing a cocktail. Continue reading “Cocktails, built to federal standards”