This week’s Drink of the Week is the classic American cocktail, The Old Fashioned. Though this old-timey drink has been around for a while, it has held its popularity in these modern times being named the most ordered drink in 2017.
It is served in a short glass aptly named after the drink, an old-fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass). Even though the recipe as we know it today calls for whiskey (traditionally bourbon or rye), there have been varieties that call for different spirits since the cocktail has been around.
Some of the varieties include brandy, rum, mezcal, gin, absinthe, and even liqueurs like orange curaçao. If you are a fan of tasting the spirits you’re drinking, this cocktail is for you! The bitters and sugar enhance the natural flavors of the alcohol while taming the bite, making it one of the ultimate sipping cocktails.
A Brief History:
The first time the word “cocktail” had been documented was in the May 6, 1806, issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson, New York. It was later defined by the paper’s editor as a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar; also known as a Bitter Sling at the time. In the 1860’s the cocktail had a resurgence but with slightly different proportions.
The name Old Fashioned refers to the way people would order the drink by asking for it the old-fashioned way, referring to the spirit, bitters, sugar, and water. It wasn’t until The Pendennis Club, a gentleman’s club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky, that the name Old Fashioned was used for a Bourbon cocktail.
A man by the name of James E. Pepper is said to have created the drink in Louisville and brought the recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York. The cocktail had a couple years of public popularity before Prohibition hit in 1920.
From that time until the end of Prohibition on December 5, 1933, the Old Fashioned held its popularity being served throughout the United States in speakeasies, originally being garnished with a lemon peel. Now more commonly, the drink has been garnished with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.
The Old Fashioned became the official cocktail of Louisville, Kentucky, in 2015.
Don’t fret if you want the old-fashioned version of the Old Fashioned! With the increase in popularity of craft cocktail bars, you can easily find this classic cocktail with its classic garnish easily. One thing is for sure, this simple cocktail has withstood the test of time and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.
Drop in every week on Wednesdays to see what we pick next!