The earliest ingredient list (noted in our previous post) included spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. That matches up very nicely with what we now refer to as an Old Fashioned.
|Classic Old Fashioned|
The name "Old Fashioned" originated as a term used by late 19th century bar patrons to distinguish cocktails made the “old-fashioned” way from newer, more complex cocktails.
So what we know as an Old Fashioned is quite possibly the closest approximation of the first drink to be called a cocktail.