5 Fascinating Things You Didn’t Know About the Old Fashioned

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With the cocktail revolution came the resurgence of classic cocktails across the nation. Bartenders no longer stared at you blankly when you ordered an Old Fashioned, waiting for you to change your mind to a Jack and Coke. And what’s even better, those same bartenders actually knows how to make a proper Old Fashioned now—no shaking, no fruit ground to a pulp.

Whether you’re new to the classic cocktail or you’ve been drinking them for years, here are five Old Fashioned facts you probably didn’t know:

1. It Really Is Old

Like 1806 old. The basic recipe was first mentioned in The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson, New York, as “a potent concoction of spirits, bitter, water and sugar.” While this defined the word cocktail for many years, drinkers started ordering Old Fashioneds in earnest in the 1860s.

2. It Doesn’t Have To Be Made With Whiskey

While whiskey is certainly the most popular choice for Old Fashioneds—and what you’ll get if you order one at a bar—you can make the drink with any spirit. It works well with mezcal, rum, gin and many other spirits.

3. It’s The Most Popular Cocktail In The US

Whether we owe it to Don Draper or America’s growing love of whiskey, the Old Fashioned is more popular than ever today. For the past two years, according to Drinks International, it was the best-selling cocktail in the U.S.

4. It’s George Lucas’ Favorite Drink

When the creator of Luke, Leia and Vader sits down for a stiff one, word is he chooses an Old Fashioned. Perhaps he figured that if you’re ordering something at the Cantina, it better be simple.

5. They Celebrate It For 2 Weeks Each Year in Louisville

Many cocktail historians claim the drink was first invented at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky. Due to its surge in national popularity, in 2015 the city of Louisville named the Old Fashioned as its official cocktail. During the first two weeks of June, Louisville celebrates Old Fashioned Fortnight, which includes bourbon events, cocktail specials and National Bourbon Day (June 14).

Recipes: Old Fashioned
Series & Type: History
Appears in 2 Collections

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