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The Fascinating Origin of the Old Fashioned Cocktail

Whiskey, muddled sugar, a dash of bitters and a twist of citrus served in a round, short glass — the Old Fashioned cocktail is a classic. Have you ever wondered where the recipe came from? Did you know that the first mention of an “old fashioned” was in 1862 and it was made with gin? Grab a glass, we’re sharing the fascinating origin of the Old Fashioned cocktail.

A book titled Bar-tenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas was published in 1880, including a recipe for an Old Fashioned Holland Gin Cocktail. Even though the elements of the cocktail were the same, there was no mention of whiskey…until 1880. This is when a Louisville social club called the Pendennis Club claim the very first Old Fashioned cocktail made with bourbon whiskey. And George Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks published in 1895 is referred to the first printed reference of the Old Fashioned recipe.

So, how do you decide the origin of this cocktail? In a way, the Old Fashioned came from all three. Regardless, we’re sure glad this recipe exists, and that it continues to inspire more recipes for us to make and enjoy.

Old Fashioned Facts

  • In 1806, an issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository wrote about a cocktail made of “spirits, bitters, water and sugar” – no mention of using whiskey in particular nor the Old Fashioned name.
  • In the Midwest, Old Fashioned cocktails are made with: American brandy, sugar, water, bitters and a splash of 7up soda.
  • The Old Fashioned is the official drink of Louisville, Kentucky.
  • In an article by Vinepair, the Old Fashioned cocktail was the most popular drink order in 2017 – surpassing the Negroni, Margarita and Manhattan.
  • This classy cocktail makes an appearance in notable TV show, Mad Men, and movie, It’s a Mad Mad Mad World.

Make your own Old Fashioned with a Rebecca Creek twist. You’ll need:

  • 2 oz of Rebecca Creek Fine Texas Whiskey
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • 1 splash of water
  • 1 orange wedge
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 0.5 oz of simple syrup

Find the details and directions for a Rebecca Creek Old Fashioned Cocktail here.

Cheers to Rebecca Creek Fine Texas Whiskey

It’s crafted with a blend of aged bourbons, corn-based spirits and limestone-filtered water from the Edwards Aquifer. The flavor profile is reminiscent of dried tropical fruit, delicate savory spice, vanilla and leather. Best served neat, on the rocks or in an Old Fashioned cocktail. Use our map to find where Rebecca Creek spirits are sold. And if it’s not sold in your area, demand it!