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The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore par [Simonson, Robert]
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Descriptions du produit



“I never treated it as just a cocktail.” 
—Doris Simonson

My mother never drank liquor until she was twenty-one. She followed the rules. But when she embarked on what would become a long drinking life, she did so with purpose and not a little forethought.

The first order of business was to find her drink. In those post–World War II days, when the cocktail hour was as inviolable a part of any day as sunrise and sunset, one had one’s drink. There was none of this flitting about from cocktail to cocktail. You found a mix that delighted the palate and soothed the mind in the right proportions and stuck by it.

She began with Manhattans. She liked the way they looked, shining like liquid embers inside a long-stemmed glass. But, after a while, they gave her headaches, which she blamed on the sweet vermouth. (Vermouth is ever the scapegoat.) She then tried Martinis, but found them daunting and dangerous. Finally, she found her level in the Old-Fashioned. Some of her reasoning was spurious. She’d ask for as much accompanying fruit as the bar could furnish as well as a healthy spurt of soda water, because, “even in those days, watching your weight was important.” But the remainder of her logic is hard to fault.

“A lot depends on why you’re having an Old-Fashioned,” she said, some sixty years after she sampled her first. “If you’re having one as a drink in the evening, you’d probably rather have a strong one, because you’re not going to have two Old-Fashioneds. If you’re at somebody’s home or visiting with people, it’s never just a cocktail. I never treated it as just a cocktail. To me, a cocktail was an avenue to socializing. Everyone did it. It was something we did while we were visiting and laughing and singing and talking. It was a tool to meet people and relax.

“I treated it as an all-purpose drink. I never went through this thing where you say, ‘Oh, it’s before dinner, so we need a before-dinner drink; or, it’s dinner, so we want something light; or it’s after dinner, etc.’ It was something I enjoyed drinking, and I could control what I wanted by telling the bartender not to put too much liquor in it, or to put a lot of fruit in it. You could almost make up the recipe for your Old-Fashioned.

“You find people’s personalities coming out in Old-Fashioneds. A lot of men will drink Old-Fashioneds, but they will tell the bartender, in no uncertain terms, ‘Very little, if anything, mixed in.’ Mostly, it turned out what they wanted was a bourbon on the rocks. They basically wanted a nice strong drink with plenty of ice cubes, so as it sat there it became a little more mellow. Whereas women basically wanted all the things that went with it.”
“And,” she concluded, “it’s so beautiful to look at.”


Col. Jim Gray’s 
New York Sun, 1908

“Colonel” Jim Gray enjoyed a thirty-year tenure behind the bar at New York’s Fifth Avenue Hotel. He contended that he had served the Old-Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail since 1881 and had, in fact, invented it. This is the recipe given to a New York Sun reporter in 1908 by Colonel Gray himself. This formula is patently not an Old-Fashioned, what with the lack of bitters and lemon peel and the presence of nutmeg. Most likely, the reporter mistakenly applied the name to the recipe for a Whiskey Toddy, another drink for which Gray was famous. Indeed, several bartenders wrote to the Sun protesting that Gray must have been misquoted. Nonetheless, this is the recipe we have. And, taken as such, it’s actually an excellent drink. The recipe below is adapted from Gray’s instructions to the Sun.

2 ounces bourbon or rye
1 sugar cube
Dash of nutmeg

Muddle the sugar cube, a barspoon of water, and a sprinkle of nutmeg in a mixing glass. Add the whiskey and ice. Attach tin to top of glass and shake the drink. Strain the drink into an Old-Fashioned glass. Dust with nutmeg. “And, for heavens sake,” as the Colonel said, “no bitters.”

Revue de presse

"Robert Simonson is such an engaging author that he makes this the perfect book to accompany an easy chair and a well-made Old-Fashioned cocktail . . . An incisive, impeccably researched story of this too often forgotten classic cocktail, resulting in some good rollicking stories that American history is rich in."
John MarianiHuffington Post

"[...] you won’t be engrossed in his book just because of all the mythology surrounding this storied drink. It’s filled with gorgeous photos of the Old-Fashioned in its eponymous glass and with recipes (which comprise a good half of the book) both traditional and modern, swapping out the whiskey for pretty much every other spirit available."
Ariana Auber, Austin American Statesman

"Simonson takes us on a witty and engaging tour through the drink’s long history and ends with recipes for traditional mixes and experimental twists. Like a good old-fashioned, his writing is dry but sweet; it’s got a kick, but is also low-key and best savored slowly."
 David Cote, Time Out New York

"If you like a little lore with your whiskey, then this book is for you. It covers the story of how this one drink has survived from the early 19th century, through Prohibition, and now back again to being one of our favorites. [...] Alone or with a bottle of rye, this makes for the perfect holiday gift for the drink lover on your list."
 Maureen Petrosky, The Kitchn

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 11406 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 178 pages
  • Editeur : Ten Speed Press (13 mai 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.7 étoiles sur 5 52 commentaires
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is a book to be savored along with the booze 13 mai 2014
Par I Do The Speed Limit - Publié sur
Format: Relié
And the Old-Fashioned surely won't go out of fashion.

For the longest time we drank vodka. Year before last, coming up on the Holiday season, we were searching for a mutual, share-able present for each other--just a token for holiday spirit. We settled on a very expensive bottle of bourbon. Later, we sat in front of the fireplace, snuggled up and sipping; patting ourselves on the back for our wonderful, eye-opening "brown liquor" experience.

After a dozen or so sipping "experiences" with whiskeys and bourbons, we decided to branch out a bit. Oh, we won't ever give up trying new sipping bourbons and whiskeys, but we decided to expand into mixed drinks. Variations on the Old-Fashioned and the Manhattan became our pursuit.

How could we not like this book? It is jam-packed with information, tips, recipes, reminiscence. It is a book to be savored, along with the booze.

I was amazed to see how many recipes and variations were included. Plus the variety of liquors: Chartreuse, Cherry Heering, Eldeflower liqueur, Grand Marnier, to name just a few. There was even a discussion on pear bitters. (I have been experimenting with different bitters lately.)

This would make a beautiful gift, too. Maybe a possible Father's Day present?

*I received a temporary download of this book from the publisher. But this is a book to slowly work through, and a book to refer back to, so we will be purchasing our own copy.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must-Have for Cocktail Fans 14 mai 2014
Par Clay Risen - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Does a single cocktail deserve an entire book? It does if it's the Old-Fashioned. Journalist Robert Simonson deftly makes the case for why it's not just the oldest of the classic cocktails, but the most important, the ur-drink that cleared the path for everything to come after.

Even still, in less artful hands, a book on a narrow topic like this could easily become repetitive, obsessive, and boring. But Simonson, who writes for a variety of outlets including the New York Times, tells his story well, placing the evolution of the Old-Fashioned within the context of Gilded Age New York, with stopovers in New Orleans, Chicago, and Havana. The second half of the book counts 40 recipes, from classic versions to modern variants, all told with such verve that you'll want to read each one, even if you never touch a jigger.

And while you should never judge a book by its cover, it's worth noting how beautiful this book is designed. It's a compact, jacketless hardcover with the cover art printed directly onto the boards. The endpaper is retro marbled. Throughout the book are beautiful full-color, often full-page photos by Daniel Krieger. The text is printed in an army of fonts, too many for my tastes, but nothing too distracting.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Book Review: The Old-Fashioned 30 juillet 2014
Par Anderson - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The Old-Fashioned is a wonderfully crafted book just as its namesake, for it generates a love for this classic cocktail. The book is not simply an enjoyable and informative read but a visual pleasure which makes reading it that much better. After reading the history of this drink through its ups and downs, I was reminded how the Lord has given the good gift of alcohol to make the heart glad. This book is a demonstration of the art, skill, and joy that can be had in enjoying a drink. I have yet to try any of the recipes provided, however, I am sure I will especially since one of them calls for bacon fat-infused bourbon. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to acquire a love for a truly classic cocktail. Read it and enjoy it and then drink an Old-Fashioned in honor of it.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Book on a Classic Drink! 14 septembre 2014
Par Matt - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I've had a few Old-Fashioneds in my time, but I'm not nearly as much of an expert as I'd like to be. Plus, I figured it's high time I learned to make this delicious drink in my own home rather than paying the price at bars!

This book is a delightful exploration of the drink! It's small and compact - perfect for that bar or kitchen counter - and filled with lots of lovely pictures of delicious looking drinks. I really appreciated that the author, Robert Simonson, included a fairly extensive history of the drink before he gets into the recipe section. It was fascinating to learn all about the historical movements and preferences that have shaped the way we enjoy the Old Fashioned today.

When we do finally get to the recipes, they are helpfully divided up into three sections: Old School, Standard Variations, and Modern Classics. Again, I loved the way the book incorporated history and culture into its recipes! The Old School recipes are sources from historical documents, like newspapers from the 1860s, and the Modern Classics are sourced back to the restaurants they originated from! One thing I really love about this book is that it is accessible to all levels of drink makers. It has enough instructions and recipes so that beginners like myself can easily try out some of the easier recipes, but also contains enough nuanced drinks that more practiced bartenders will find something to their liking.

I tried out a couple of the drinks, Col. Jim's Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail and the AppleJack Old Fashioned, and really enjoyed them both! I am looking forward to trying more recipes from this marvelous books!

*A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me by Blogging for Books for review*
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great gift for the whiskey enthusiast! 9 juin 2014
Par JUDSON - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I bought this for my boss who is a big whiskey/ bourbon fan and he absolutely loved it. We flipped through it together and there are some GREAT cocktail recipies. He has already made a few of them. The book is great quality and would make a perfect gift for the whiskey fan in your life.
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