The original Old Fashioned recipe would have used whiskeys available in America in the late 1800’s, either Bourbon or Rye Whiskey. The first recipe is from 1895. But in some regions, especially Wisconsin, brandy is substituted for whiskey (sometimes called a Brandy Old Fashioned). Eventually the use of other spirits became common, such as a gin recipe becoming popularized in the late 1940s. The first mention of the drink was for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky.
Common garnishes for an Old Fashioned include an orange slice or a maraschino cherry, although these modifications came around 1930, sometime after the original recipe was invented. The practice of muddling orange and other fruit gained prevalence as late as the 1990s. In muddling the fruit make sure to muddle the fruit but try not to muddle the peel too much. You want to release the oils and fruit flavor but not a lot of the acid. As with spirit only drinks what whiskey/brandy you make this drink with matters. The fun is in trying to find which one you really like!
Many drinks are an offshoot of the Gin and Vodka drinks out of the 20’s and 30’s that are part of the Cap Codder family which is Vodka and Cranberry. There are many variations on this drink like the Bay Breeze, Sea Breeze, Greyhound… Any way you look at it the drink reminds you of summer by the sea!
Grasshoppers are a sweet, mint-flavored, after-dinner drink. The name of the drink is derived from its green color, which is provided by the green crème de menthe. The drink reputedly originated at Tujague’s, a landmark bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It gained popularity during the 1950s and 1960s throughout the American South as a perfect way to top off a heavy meal taking advantages of mint’s naturally stomach settling effects.
One theory on the origin of the Gibson has Charles Dana Gibson responsible for the creation of the Gibson, when he supposedly asked Charley Connolly, the bartender of the Players Club in New York City, to improve upon the martini’s recipe, so Connolly simply substituted an onion for the olive and named the drink after the patron. Another story given by Charles McCabe of the San Francisco Chronicle states it is from San Francisco. A.P. Gibson remembered that when he was a boy, his great-uncle, prominent San Francisco businessman Walter D. K. Gibson (1864–1938), was said to have created it at the Bohemian Club in the 1890s. Whatever the origin the drink remains a classic twist on the martini. Simple and clean usually served with a single onion it remains a standard.
The French 75 was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York. An elegant drink with Gin and Champagne with a great kick it a drink that was enjoyed by the upper class elite both men and women. Shades of Downton Abbey all that is needed is lace gloves or an ascot.
The Charlie Chaplin Cocktail was one of the premier drinks of the Waldorf-Astoria prior to 1920. The equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin is documented in A.S. Crockett’s “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”. Not sure if Charlie Chaplin drank these but if he did it was to satisfy his sweet tooth.
Most believe this is a riff on an Alexander which uses gin instead of brandy, some think that the Brandy Alexander was not a variation of the original, but a new drink created without any knowledge of its predecessor. The Russian Tsar, Alexander II, believes the drink was named after him, while opera critic, Alexander Dragon, believes it was made with him in mind. However it came to be the Brandy Alexander has lasted a long time as one of the best dessert cocktails around. Add ice cream instead of cream and you have an even richer treat.
The modern version of the Pisco Sour wasn’t born until late 1920s, when bartender Mario Bruige added Angostura bitters and egg white. However, the Pisco Sour can trace its origins much further back to the creation of its base: the strong, brandy-like liquor, Pisco.