Life Behind Bars

Is the Old-Fashioned the World’s First Cocktail?

The Old-Fashion is once again super popular but its history stretches back hundreds of years.

The Old-Fashion is once again super popular but its history stretches back hundreds of years.

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Anybody can make an Old-Fashioned cocktail: It’s just sugar, water, bitters and spirit (usually whiskey, these days). That’s it. But this deceptively simple list of ingredients yields a complex cocktail that has satisfied drinkers for hundreds of years. On this episode of Life Behind Bars, we discuss the long history of the Old-Fashioned and how it’s essentially the very first cocktail ever stirred up. We’ll also address whether or not it’s acceptable to include club soda, and muddled cherries and orange in the mix.

Life Behind Bars features The Daily Beast’s Drink + Food editor Noah Rothbaum and its senior Drinks columnist David Wondrich as they discuss the greatest bartenders of all time and how they changed what the world drinks.

Edited by Alex Skjong

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