I was standing in my kitchen tonight deciding what to mix up to end a great weekend that included lots of good cocktails.  My jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries caught my attention.  (Note: these are not those neon pink/red cherries we know from childhood.  These are the real deal.)  And I thought, “What can I do with those? Duh.  An Old-Fashioned of course?”  I pulled together all the ingredients and grabbed my muddler.

Since we have enjoyed many together, I will always think of my friend Maura when I have an Old-Fashioned.  It’s a favorite of hers and she has made it a favorite of mine.  It’s a classic that has been pleasing drinkers for a long time. In Jerry Thomas’ 1862 How to Mix Drinks, he identifies a cocktail as a strong spirit of any kind, with sugar, water and bitters.  In that way, some identify the Old-Fashioned as the original cocktail.  The muddled fruit I so enjoy was added later in the early 20th century.  Like with most cocktail recipes, the exact moment of origin is a bit fuzzy, but many credit the Pendennis Club in Louisville, Kentucky with the bourbon version most of us enjoy.

I really like the potency of this drink—it’s mostly bourbon.  The caremelly, sweetness of the bourbon is nicely matched with the muddled cherry and orange.  And the Angostura bitters (Of course, I am using these sparing these days, but this is a worthy cause) amp up the whole thing.  Perfect end to the weekend.

Even though I have made many with no recipe, I followed Dale DeGroff’s recipe in The Essential Cocktail.  It’s pretty much the same as what I learned from Maura.


In an old-fashioned glass (what else would you possibly use?), muddle together:

1 tsp superfine sugar

3 dashes Angostura bitters

1 maraschino cherry

1 orange slice

Splash of club soda

Remove fruit pieces

Add 2 oz bourbon and ice


Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Thank goodness old school drinks like Old-Fashioneds never go out of style.  Cheers!