Bee’s Knees, Clover Club, Old Fashioned… all classic cocktails that inspired the flavors of our hard kombuchas. Now, the Old Fashioned is a special guy. It's one of the oldest classic cocktails, dating back to at least 1806 when the recipe was written down for the first time in its simplest form - spirit (rye whiskey), a little sugar, a little water, and bitters. At this time, it was called the Whiskey Cocktail.
Decades passed, and starting around the 1870s mixologists began creating updated versions of the Whiskey Cocktail - playing with maraschino liqueur, muddled citrus fruits, splashes of absinthe, and other concoctions. Can we blame them? All of a sudden they had so many different types of alcohol at their disposal to experiment with - fun! But, those who were familiar with the original, simplified Whiskey Cocktail were outraged by these fruity changes.…Old men were all, “Arghh, give me whiskey or give me death!” Thus came the term Old-Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail, later shortened to just the Old Fashioned.
During the Prohibition Era of the 1920s, once again more sugar and muddled fruit was added to the drink - likely to mask the flavors of the poor quality whiskey being used. Since the making, selling and drinking of liquor was illegal until Prohibition was repealed in 1933, individuals were making it in secret in small, makeshift operations, often not knowing what the hell they were doing.
Let’s get into the typical Old Fash ingredients, in case you want to make one for yourself:
A lil simple syrup - about ¼ ounce. Or, some recipes call for a sugar cube.
2 dashes of bitters - Angostura or Fee Brothers are our fave brands right now
1 large ice cube or ice sphere. If you don’t have this ~special~ ice, no worries. The larger cube just melts a little slower so the cocktail doesn’t become diluted as fast.
2 ounces of rye whiskey or bourbon - whatever you like or have in your cupboard.
An orange peel or Luxardo cherry for garnish.
How to Make: Add the bitters and simple syrup into your whiskey tumbler and stir them together. If you choose to use a sugar cube in lieu of simple syrup, muddle the cube with your bitters at the bottom of the glass. Next, add your ice, and finally your whiskey. Garnish with the orange peel by lightly brushing the inside of the peel around the rim of the glass for that extra citrus flavor and aroma, or drop a cherry in, and cheers! If you want it a little weaker (hah!), just add a few dashes of cold water.
You can see by the above ingredients how our hard kombucha Old Fashioned flavor came about - notes of oak, orange, and tart cherry. The oak flavor in our booch comes from soaking oak spirals directly in the brew, which was inspired by the oak barrels that whiskey is aged in. The orange and tart cherry extracts we add are of course inspired by the typical Old Fashioned garnishes, which are also often muddled with the simple syrup to offer a more flavorful drink.
The Hooch Booch 2-step, “healthy” kombucha version of the classic cocktail: Pour half a can of our Old Fashioned flavor into a whiskey tumbler filled with ice, and add a splash of whiskey (in case the 8.5% ABV booch isn’t enough ;)). If you’re feeling fancy, garnish with an orange peel or cherry!
Now after learning some Old Fashioned history, hopefully you’ll feel like the most sophisticated boozer in the room next time you’re at a cocktail party.