The "cocktail" found its place in literary history in 1806 in the
The Balance and Columbia Repository
being defined to a confused reader by the editor as "Cock-tail, then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters. It is vulgarly called a bittered sling...". Over the next thirty years or so, this definition became the
"Old Fashioned" cocktail and was more of a way to make a drink than just a name for one.
Taken by definition, if you use just those ingredients, you can make a Gin Old Fashioned, a Tequila Old Fashioned and so on. There was never any fruit or club soda involved in the original definition. That version seemed to pop up somewhere after Prohibition. Being the "back to basics" kind of guy I am, I don't use fruit or club soda in my Old Fashioned either.
You can have some fun with this drink. Play around with different spirits, bitters flavors and sugar syrups to come up with your very own Old Fashioned. Just try to stay true to this format and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. If you are using a higher proof spirit, you can counterbalance the booziness with adding a touch more sugar syrup and/or stirring it just a tad longer to dilute it more.
This cocktail should be soft, smooth and well balanced. If you must use fruit, an orange peel with the oils expressed over the glass works well.
Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned
2 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon 81 Proof
1 oz Maple Syrup (equal parts water and maple syrup)
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add ingredients to a mixing glass
Stir until properly diluted and well chilled
Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with 2 small ice cubes