Old Fashioned Cocktails that Continue to Impress
Like the chic black cocktail dress, there are some old-fashioned cocktails that never go out of style. The retro-drink culture is definitely in vogue today. From speakeasy-style bars and celebrity-style clubs to popular TV shows like “Mad Men,” old-fashioned cocktails have once again taken centre stage. Some of these popular cocktails originated up to 200 years ago and often serve up an ice-cold taste of history.
The making of the ‘Collins
The Tom Collins cocktail originated from the Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874. It all started as a playful game searching for the non-existent Tom Collins. Everyone would allege that Tom Collins was spreading rumours about each other, and the search for the assailant would begin. Of course, there was no Tom Collins, and the game played out like the original “Punk’d.” This is the famed TV show that spoofs celebrities. Whoever would have imagined that an old-time game would evolve into a quick mix and stir of gin and sparkling lemonade for the renowned Tom Collins cocktail?
Step into a bar and any dapper-clad bartender worth their salt can grant your wish of a refreshing Sidecar. This old-favourite libation is a version of the World War I cocktail prepared for an American army captain who wasn’t feeling all that well. His buddy bartender prepared a drink with a body-warming brandy and some Vitamin C rich lemon juice. Today, this everlasting favourite is prepared with light citrus flavors and blended Canadian whiskey. Legend has it that the American army captain was well-known for riding around town on the sidecar of a motorcycle, hence the name.
Hot Toddy – an Australian favourite!
It doesn’t get any more retro than the Hot Toddy. Born in Scotland in the early 1700s, this old fashioned cocktail was imbibed to warm you up, cure a cold or relax the nerves. With just a shot of bourbon, two cloves, some fine-grain sugar and some boiling water, you’ll be feeling your oats again.
Manhattan, of course…
Since its inception in the Big Apple during the 1850s, the Manhattan is an old-time classic that still has the unwavering ingredient list of sweet vermouth, whiskey and maraschino cherries. Plain and simple, the classic Manhattan is pure booze with a hair-on-chest factor. It’s a cousin to the Martini and is, therefore, politically correct to serve it in a chilled martini glass. Speaking of politics, the White Russian originated from the right-wing Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War of the 1900s. Simple and delicious, this dessert-worthy coffee liqueur cocktail still impresses even the most discerning cocktail drinker. Traditionally, the White Russian is a mix of cream, cappuccino liqueur and vodka served in an old-fashioned glass.
Shaken, not stirred
The Dirty Martini is another pure-booze libation that has been pleasing bar patrons for more than 70 years. Easy and high end, all you need is some Vodka and olives. This cocktail has been enjoyed by history’s larger-than-life characters like Churchill and Stalin. As a matter of fact, when President Franklin Roosevelt repealed Prohibition in 1933, he celebrated with his own personal Dirty Martini. Bar patrons will be toasting to that for years to come.
The Gimlet is also an old-time cocktail that has enjoyed staying power. It’s rumoured that this classic drink was concocted by a naval surgeon in the 20th century to ward away scurvy. With a delicious blend of gin and lime juice, sailors were more than happy to drink it. Not a bad way to get your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C. Today, the Gimlet is the quintessential summer drink at bars and clubs and a bracing chest-warmer. It should be factored into everyone’s cocktail repertoire.
Today, people in the cocktail world often like to try new things and add a twist to some of the old-time classic cocktails. Some like to add a bit of port or sherry for a splash of unique flavour. Whatever tickles your fancy, it’s easy to buy some sparkling wine online to put a new twist on an old standby. These innovative variations aren’t only the new retro – they are here to stay.