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November 24, 2020 4 min read

Introducing the December Craft Cocktail Kit

As of 12/13/20 Memberships & One-time Kits are available for purchase but 1st kit will be shipped mid-January after next month's theme is revealed.

 

Warm & Toasty

A Cocktail is defined as any spirit with sugar and bitters. By the 1870s bartenders were making their own creations. All of them were called a Cocktail. So Joey at Hangman’s Tavern made his cocktail with brandy and absinthe but Suzy over at the Drunken Owl made hers with rye and orgeat. Patrons began to choose where they drank based on their favorite bartender's Cocktail. But if you were out of town or wanting to visit a new watering hole, there was no way to know what you would be drinking. The only concoction a bartender served was a Cocktail.  

In the regular line of drinks coming under this name (that is, Cocktail) every bartender seems to have established his own private brand, so that people who are in the habit of whetting their appetites by the friendly cocktail never know beforehand what they are going to take into their stomachs as they pass from bar to bar.

- Leander Richardson

 

Why is it called the Old Fashioned?

It was deemed the Old Fashioned because patrons that weren’t interested in new fangled libations would simply say “I’ll just have an Old Fashioned.” And thus the father of all cocktails was deemed...Old Fashioned. 

Let us not forget our roots. We wouldn’t be where we are without those that came before. Don’t get lost in the dog and pony show of modern mixology. An Old Fashioned consists of sugar, bitters, water and spirit. This is where it all began.

The history of combining spirits is old and rich. Prior to the Old Fashioned mixed drinks came in large formats. In other words, they were what we consider “punch”. The idea of a single serving cocktail wasn’t common until the early 1800s. In the early 1800s patrons were confined to mostly straight spirits, hot cocktails, beer and wine. But if you break down the components of each of these libations, it begins to makes sense. In each of these you have booze, a sweetener, an acid and an herbal or bitter agent. The original cocktail is just those items but on a small scale. Spirit, sugar, bitters and a citrus peel.  

What is the reason Old Fashioneds have maintained popularity through the years?

It is tried and true and has all the components of any great cocktail. It is the framework from which all cocktails are based on. All things in life have a framework. When you apply that concept to cocktails, the Old Fashioned is the skeleton. As humans we are often looking for the next best thing. That is where innovation comes from. At the same time, we are blessed and cursed with nostalgia.

In 1895, you can see why that might appeal; why people in the age of the automobile and the electric light might like a liquid look back to the days when the railroad was the latest thing; when Choctaw and Chippewa still paddled the Mississippi; when the best restaurants served roast bear and the passenger pigeon was a popular game bird...The Old Fashioned was a drinker’s plea for a saner, quieter, slower life, one in which a gent could take a drink or two without fear that it would impair his ability to dodge a speeding streetcar or operate a rotary press.

-David Wondrich, Imbibe!

So while the Old Fashioned is part nostalgia, it is also fully formed.

There is no innovation needed here. You can rest assured that this drink is perfect in its own right. (I acknowledge that I am providing you with a wonderful exciting riff on this cocktail…).

 

Go ahead and sign up for your Commons Kit Membership before December 12th and we'll share way more :)

What’s Included

(Each Kit Serves 8)

  • Aromatic Orange BittersThese orange bitters add depth and spice to your cocktails. Combining traditional baking spice flavors with bright orange citrus you have a traditional Orange Bitter that quietly takes your cocktail to the next level.

  • Old Fashioned Sugar Cubes:  Sugar cubes that are intended to replicate lump sugar that cocktails were originally made with. We’ve taken the concept of lump sugar and added some pizzazz to give you a sugar cube that will enhance your drink without taking it away from the classic realm in which it lives.

  • Candied Cinnamon Stick: We have candied our cinnamon sticks in a dark raw sugar to add depth and richness to your Toasted Old Fashioned. Think Cinnamon Toast Crunch meets bourbon.

  • Cocktail Commons Canvas Flask: What’s better than a cocktail in your pocket? Make a couple Old Fashioneds in advance, pour them into your flask. Boom. Old Fashioneds to-go. Picnics. Hikes. Family gatherings. Date night around the fire. Solo time around the fire. Watching a movie and don’t want to go make a drink in the middle. You get the picture.

  • Fresh lemon & orange:To use for garnish

  • Matches: Because we are going to light some shit on fire together

Techniques you’ll learn

  • How to use citrus for fire |This is primarily for flavor enhancement...but the spectacle is obviously fun.

  • How to measure ingredients | We will discuss why consistency is important to crafting cocktails and honing your skills.

  • How to properly use a bar spoon & a mixing glass | Learn how to stir a cocktail. We will also cover some alternative options for bar spoons and mixing glasses.

  • How to muddle | When to muddle. When not to muddle. Why you should muddle (in certain occasions)

  • How to peel citrus | Maximize your garnishes and flavor of your cocktail

An Old Fashioned is old fashioned on purpose and by design. It is contrary for humans to leave well enough alone. But in the case of the Old Fashioned, well enough should be left alone. Use it as a skeleton to build and create. But you can not change what it is. Whatever you create from the skeleton is no longer and Old Fashioned. I don’t know about you, but I find a lot of joy in that

You’re well on your way to a lovely craft cocktail and some knowledge that will serve you well on your bartending journey — now go get yourself a Commons Kit membership or one time kit and let's get mixing!

 


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