The Old-Fashioned. a healthy dose of bourbon or rye, a bit of sugar, aromatic bitters a plenty, a zest of orange and ice stirred till dilution perfection. That’s the overriding Old Fashioned cocktail recipe. A staple in cocktail history. Created way back in the 18 hundreds and yet, with new innovative cocktails being created everyday the Old Fashioned still hits the number one spot of most popular cocktail lists, its still one of, if not the most ordered of the menu cocktail in bars all around the world. survived prohibition, is probably the cocktail with the most recipe variations. and was probably enjoyed by your dad, mum, granny, granddad, great aunt and great great granddad.
A History On The Old Fashioned
Scour the internet and you will likely find plenty stories about the origins of this cocktail, not to mention plenty of bars claiming to be the birth place of this classic cocktail. However that’s to be expected. think of the bragging rights you would have if your bar or your great great granny invented the Old Fashioned. and with a drink so simple in design its difficult to find the true roots of this cocktail!
However. The popular story goes that the Old Fashioned was originally created sometime in the early 1800’s following the first definition of a cocktail, which appeared in a editorial response in The Balance and Columbian Repository in 1806. Which stated a cocktail, is the combination of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. Which is exactly what the recipe for an Old Fashioned calls for. Back then the drink we call the “Old Fashioned” would of been known as the whisky cocktail.
In 1862, A book called “Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide: How To Mix Drinks” was published, in said book was a recipe for an Old Fashioned Holland Gin Cocktail “Crush a small lump of sugar in a whiskey glass containing a little water, add a lump of ice, two dashes of Angostura bitters, a small piece of lemon peel, one jigger Holland gin. Mix with small bar spoon. Serve” Its likely that around this time there was a Old Fashioned Whisky cocktail, A Old Fashioned Gin Cocktail, A Old Fashioned everything cocktail. So after a time cocktails evolved and the Old Fashioned Whisky cocktail just became the Old Fashioned.
Prohibitions impact on the Old Fashioned cocktail recipe...
Time went on. Prohibition came, home-made spirits became a thing, spirits became hard to swallow and fruit got added to these drinks to mask the harsh flavours of bootlegged bourbon. Prohibition ended and all the new cocktail books featured Old Fashioned cocktail recipes with the addition of fruit. More time went by, the cocktail changed more, more people claimed to have created the drink, mixology became more of a science and innovated bartenders twisted the old fashioned into hundreds of tasty variations of the classic.
But if you need a name to attach to the origins of the Old Fashioned, James E. Pepper is that name. We wouldn’t have the Old Fashioned if it wasn’t for him. Established in 1780. The Pepper family brand of whiskey is one of the oldest & most legendary whiskey brands in American history. Starting with Elijah Pepper (distiller 1780-1838) and then his son Oscar Pepper (distiller 1838-1867), Oscar’s son the Colonel James E. Pepper (distiller 1867-1906) James E. Pepper would stay for extended periods of time at the famed Waldorf Hotel. It was through these trips to the Waldorf that Colonel Pepper helped introduced the world to the “Old Fashioned” cocktail, which was said to have been invented in his honour by a bartender at the famed Pendemmis Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe
- 50ML Bourbon or Rye Whisky
- 3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 1 Orange peel
- Cubed Ice
Step 1) In its namesake, A “Old-Fashioned” glass. Add the sugar cube and douse with the angostura bitters. Then add the orange peel and give a light muddle.
Step 2) Add Cubed ice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Slowly pour over the Bourbon or Rye whilst continuing to add ice and stir till the sugar is dissolved and you reach your preferred dilution.
5 Original Twists On The Old fashioned
Little word of advice. All these Old Fashioned Recipes, although are indeed. Are all Old Fashions. Each one tastes different from the last, some are sweet, some are dry, some are just plain old ordinary. Try making all of them to serve at your next dinner party to really impress (If dinner parties and all that jazz are your thing)
1) LADY LUXURY
An Old Fashioned cocktail recipe for the classy drinkers. It needs abit of prep time to make the ingredients, but it all pays of in the end. Using the spirit infusion method called fat-washing to make a truffle oil infused bourbon, and a champagne syrup. This one is a modern take on the luxury parties of prohibition. With chocolate, truffles and Champagne. Garnished with Champagne caviar. Take a step right into the home of The Great Gatsby…
Ingredients: Truffle Oil infused bourbon, Champagne syrup and Chocolate bitters.
2) Showtime Old Fashioned
Another Fat washed infused bourbon. This Old fashioned cocktail recipe edges more to the sweeter side. Great for relaxing at home, bag of popcorn by your side, a movie on the TV.
Top Tip: Pre batch this cocktail to fill a bottle, then you dont even have to leave your sofa to get another drink.
Ingredients: Butter Fat Washed Bourbon, Popcorn Infused syrup, Angostura bitters and Saline.
3) Mezcal Old Fashioned
With its distinctive smokey flavour. Mezcal makes for a interesting replacement for Bourbon. And a complex twist on the traditional Old Fashioned recipe. The blend of Mezcal and Tequila Reposado gives you a real, unfiltered taste of Mexican tipples. Dont get me wrong. Margaritas and Palomas are some of the best Tequila cocktails out their. However, if you’re looking for something new, and you truly enjoy the taste of tequila. Meaning you don’t just smash back Tequila shots to get pissed! Then this is a cocktail you have to try.
Ingredients: Mezcal, Tequila Reposado, Agave, Grapefruit Bitters, Grapefruit Peel.
4) Chocolate & Walnut Rum Old Fashioned
Instead of using actual sugar. This recipe calls for sugar in the form of a liqueur. A chocolate liqueur. Chocolate and rum is a delicious combination. That cant be argued with. However, for the most part, Chocolate cocktails lean more on the sweeter side. Using it within an old fashioned recipe can add a touch of complexity you didn’t think could be achieved with chocolate.
Ingredients: Dark Rum, Walnut Bitters, Chocolate bitters, Cacao Blanc.
5) Smoked Gin Old Fashioned
Gin may be the first mention of the name “Old-Fashioned” as mentioned above in the Old Fashioned cocktail history section. So it goes without saying I couldn’t create 5 twists without a Gin Old Fashioned. This cocktail involves smoking with oak. Smoking the cocktail gives it that woody, aged taste that you would get with Bourbon or Rye Whisky. So dont let the Gin in this cocktail fool you into thinking its going to be a juniper forward tasting Negroni without the vermouth. This is an old fashioned through and through. So check out the recipe below for the Old Fashion Gin homage to Jerry Thomas and his 1862 guide on how to mix drinks
Ingredients: London Dry Gin, Angostura Bitters and Sugar, all smoked with oak