1990 to present
Bartending has come a long way since even the 2000s into today. To describe modern cocktail mixology, I’ll do it through the lens of the materials that I used to learn bartending. The Death & Co Cocktail book, the Cocktail Codex book, and Liquid Intelligence. All three of these books act as a piece of the puzzle that brings mixology to its current state. The Death & Co cocktail book shows the evolution that the New York bar went through to take part in popularizing golden age mixology. It separated itself from the party atmosphere of the dark ages and went back to the bar roots of the early 1900s. Research was done to revitalize the craft of mixology. This research is shown in their other book, Cocktail Codex. This details their theory that all cocktails stem from variations of the old-fashioned, the martini, the daiquiri, the sidecar, the whiskey highball, and the flip (see image at the very bottom). This expanded their understanding of all cocktails in context with one another and helped them to create new cocktails and craft old ones. The book Liquid Intelligence brought scientific study into the picture to examine the cocktail on the chemical level. This helped bartenders to craft the best possible cocktail.
Mixology today is entering its own new golden age. The cocktails of the 1800s are being faithfully recreated and the thought process behind their balance is being explored to create new cocktails. The average American can find a cocktail bar and enjoy these progressions in mixology.
Drink: Oxaca Old Fashioned
The famous and popular drink from the Death & Co bar. It combines the ancient recipe of the old-fashioned with the modern cocktail craft process. It uses both tequila and mezcal. In the past, tequila was a poor quality spirit that was inexpensive and used for shots. Today, the process of making tequila has many overlaps with the way the French make wine. The result is that today, tequila is entering its modern renaissance in terms of liquor quality. While tequila still is trying to shake its stigma, drinks like the Oaxaca old-fashioned one shake up the norms of mixology and present something as unique as it is enjoyable.
Note: mezcal is a spirit made of agave outside of Tequila, Mexico. This is a similar relationship that sparkling wine has with Champagne. Mezcal has a more “spice” profile compared to tequila, similar to the relationship between rye and bourbon.
In an old fashioned glass, add 1.5oz reposado tequila
Add 0.5oz mezcal
Add 1 bar spoon of agave syrup
Add 2 dashes of angostura bitters
Add one big ice cube and stir in the glass
Garnish with an expressed orange peel