Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore Robert Simonson – 14 in a series

Reading - The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

“What?”, you say? “An entire book about one cocktail?”

“Yes!”, I say. “And what a cocktail it is!”

The Old-Fashioned takes us through the long and complicated history of what is arguably America’s favorite cocktail. I know, for myself, that this has become my go-to tipple whether at home our out on the town. It is deceptively simple and when well made almost perfect. The woody bite of bourbon, a slight sweetness from your favorite sweetener (mine is maple syrup), a splash of bitter to mellow it all together and a slice of orange to complete both the taste and visual profile. Yum!

What started out as a relatively straightforward combination went through many changes over the years including the changing of ingredients, overburdening the drink with fruit and changing tastes, but a group of old-fashioned purists wrestled back the Old-Fashioned into something eloquently playable and ready to be experimented with once more. You’ll find old and new recipes here, showing you a place to start as well as excellent places to travel with your favorite cocktail.

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.


A complete history of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails–now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival–with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.

No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate.

The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.

Also featured are more than forty cocktail recipes, including classic variations, regional twists, and contemporary updates from top bartenders around the country. All are accessible, delicious, and elegant in their simplicity, demonstrating the versatility and timelessness of the Old-Fashioned formula. 

With its rich history, stunning photography, and impeccable recipes, The Old-Fashioned is a celebration of one of America’s greatest bibulous achievements. It is a necessary addition to any true whiskey- or cocktail-lover’s bookshelf, and destined to become a classic on par with its namesake beverage.

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

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