The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned family of drinks are cocktails in the most classic sense: a spirit, some bitters, and sugar. A citrus twist was added to this formula early on. The general formula is this:
- 2 oz spirit
- a few dashes of bitters
- a sugar cube or a splash of sweetener
- citrus twist garnish
Near the end of the 19th century, bartenders began dressing up this simple formula with various flourishes. The most notable is the sazerac. This adds an absinthe rinse, to give the glass an aromatic coat before the cocktail is added, as well as more distintive bitters (Peychaud’s).
At some point, bar-goers were heard saying, “I don’t want that fancy stuff. Make me one the old fashioned way” — which is where the old fashioned got its name.
Credit for the six cocktail families goes to Cocktail Codex. I highly recommend it for an in-depth exploration of drink variations in each category