Just What is an Old Fashioned

Just What is an Old Fashioned

Have you ever heard of an old fashioned cocktail? Wondered just what it is? In this article, we give you an overview of this esteemed drink that is generally considered the standard drink to order at a bar.One of the most well-known cocktails, many people don’t quite know where it came from. Well, it turns out it has a very long history stretching back to the 1800s!

What is an Old Fashioned?

Typically you make this cocktail by muddling sugar with bitter and water. Then, you add whiskey. The drink is usually garnished with an orange slice or cherries.

Almost always this drink is served in an old fashioned glass. You may know this glass as a “rocks” or lowball glass. The glass is basically a short tumbler where you can serve drinks with ice cubes (on the rocks) or without ice cubes (neat).

The Mid 1800s

An old fashioned is one of the earliest version of the modern cocktail. In fact, the drink first showed up in a book on how to mix drinks in 1862 that contained a recipe for an old fashioned gin cocktail. While today’s cocktail usually has whiskey, it’s worth noting this earlier version had gin as well as lemon as its fruit.

There are earlier versions of it described in 1833 in New York City as containing rum, gin, or brandy and was referred to as the bittered sling.

After 1860, people began asking for drinks that were old fashioned. This was in style at the time, and the most popular drinks contained whisky.

The Year 1880

It turns out the Pendennis Club (a private gentlemen’s club founded in 1881) in Lousville, Kentucky, take credit for the cocktail, and says it was invented on their property.

It is said that a bartender at the club, James E. Pepper, who was also a bourbon distiller, created it and then took it to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel bar in New York City.

Critics do frown on this story, though, as the Chicago Daily Tribune wrote about the old fashioned in 1880, well before the Pendennis club opened. What’s more, it seems the old fashioned is really a “re-packaged” old fashioned drink!

In January 1936

It seems that an article published in the New York Times on January 1 by a man known as the Old Timer looks back on the years after the end of Prohibition. In this article, the Old Timer shares cocktail recipes, namely one for the old fashioned. This is what it said:

“Consider, for instance, the Old-Fashioned cocktail. Time was when the affable and sympathetic bartender moisted a lump of sugar with Angostura bitter, dropped in a lump of ice, neither too large or too small, stuck in a miniature bar spoon and passed the glass to the client with a bottle of good bourbon from which said client was privileged to pour his own drink.”

Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail

Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail on the Big Green Egg.

Final Thoughts

A renewed interest in the old fashioned cocktail resurfaced with Don Draper’s character in the Mad Men television series that was set in the 1960s.

Today the drink has never been more popular!

Now that you know just what an old fashioned is, you can make this delicious Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail right on your Big Green Egg!