In the modern world, I think it’s fair to say that innovation is a very, very elusive thing. With all of our interconnectedness and collective knowledge – thanks, Internet! – it’s hard to fathom creating something new and original. Seriously, what hasn’t been done, or at least attempted?
Nowhere is this idea more evident than in the resurgence of cocktail culture. I mean, when you’re working in the realm of classic cocktails, how on earth can you do something original with just two or three ingredients? You’ve got to imagine that every possible permutation has been tried and experimented with by any number of professional or home mixologists.
Perhaps one of the simplest and most pure of all classic cocktails is the venerable Old Fashioned. Whiskey, sugar, bitters and ice. How can this be improved upon? Well, my friend Josh Brandenburg of Bar 44 at the Royalton Hotel in New York City came up with a creative twist on the old classic – and it includes a smoked wood chip. Delicious.