Saltwort Old Fashioned

Saltwort syrup, celery bitters, D Aurum

An Old Fashioned Cocktail is a beautiful thing, especially because its simplicity means it can be made to be very difficult. Basically, it was a reactionary and hostile response to modern trends. The word cocktail was first named in 1806 and was defined as a mix of sugar, water, liquor and bitters. By the time Jerry Thomas published the first version of his Bon Vivant’s Companion in 1862, the category was already widened, (e.g. with The Japanese Cocktail – a brandy old fashioned sweetened with orgeat) and by the time we hit the 1880s, the category was wide open, and both Manhattan Martinis and Crusta were named as cocktails. So purists started to order an old fashioned cocktail from before the world went mad and bartenders started to pour vermouth and juice into them. The drink became so popular that in 1886 the Pendennis Club put an Old Fashioned on their menu (and created the confusion with slices of orange, cherries and soda) and the rest is history as they like to say.
Well, now it’s out turn to make one….


• 6 cl D Argentum
• 0.75 cl saltwort syrup
• Dash of celery bitters
• Lemon rind


Saltwort syrup:
Take a good handful of saltwort and put in a blender.
Add sugar and water (1:1.5) and blend at max. rpm until the blender holder grows warm. Next, sieve through a cheesecloth. You will now have a green syrup that tastes of salt and fresh grass. The syrup can keep for a week in the fridge.

Tincture of celery can be purchased in well-stocked wine/liquor merchants. Bitter Truth makes one that is really good.

Pour 1 cl of your salty syrup into a large whisky glass, and add a dash (a very imprecise and undocumented unit of measurement, which all bartenders disagree over how much it is. But if you turn over a bitters bottle, it is the amount that runs out by itself.) If you get hold of a pipette, you can more precisely measure and experiment until you find the precise amount of drops of tincture of celery that you need with 6 cl of dill aquavit.

Stir using something practical. Remember what we said about water with these kinds of cocktails. There is ice in this cocktail, in other words you need to stir this so it still has ice before you take the first sip. Otherwise it will be too slushy before your guests are finished with it.

Squeeze a thin slice of lemon over the drink and rub in around the top of the glass, which adds lemon and a slight bitterness to the lips.