The origins of the word “cocktail” are lost to history, but the first definition we find in print comes from an 1806 newspaper from upstate New York. A cocktail is called “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters…”
Over the course of the 19th century, the cocktail picked up a number of additions and refinements: liqueurs, fortified wines, various bits of garnish, et cetera. Eventually, some drinkers came to prefer a simpler form of cocktail, the type their grandfathers might have enjoyed, and so they’d ask the bartender to make them an “old-fashioned” cocktail, of booze, sugar muddled into water to form a syrup, and bitters.
If you want to experience the ur-cocktail, or if you just enjoy deliciousness, the Old Fashioned is the drink for you. We might have the one you like at our bar… ?