Prairie Oyster | Actually Good Classic Recipe

Is The Prairie Oyster Good and What Does It Taste Like

The prairie oyster doesn’t taste bad in fact its actually pretty good. You can barely taste the egg yolk. Mostly you just taste the funky Worcestershire sauce and spices, which I think taste pretty good and then the egg yolk just kinda pops and then goes down. I know that description is not very persuasive to trying it but it’s surprisingly good. If you like throwing back raw oysters then you most likely will like this too as its not too far off. The first prairie oyster you eat is for sure the hardest. You stare at it and the drink stares back. Eventually you realizing you have no choice but to drink it.

Truth be told I actually love this drink and my family is disgusted by me eating them. Egg yolk is pretty mild but the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar are what really hit you. Optional toppings are either ketchup, hot sauce, or horseradish. I actually like the horseradish as it actually sends a good quick burn up the sinuses. So it’s a nice funk and burn.

History Of The Prairie Oyster

The prairie oyster starts to pop up in books around the end of the 19th century beginning of the 20th century. Although the prairie oyster appears to be a take on an actual oyster dish. Similar to ordering a shrimp cocktail at the bar today the oyster cocktail was a nice go to during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many books had oyster cocktails among their recipes and the small bar bite typically was 5 or 6 shucked oysters in a glass, mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce or ketchup, and salt and pepper. Serve with a spoon and let the patron dig in. I also found in the 1891 book Boothby’s American bar a cocktail called the pick me up. The cocktail is Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, black coffee and salt. The earliest example of the prairie oyster I could find is in the 1895 book “Drinks of All Kinds For All Seasons” by John Hogg of London. The origin story he presents is that a few Texans were out camping when one fell ill and demanded oysters to heal him. They didn’t have oysters but they had eggs. So they fixed up a drink of it similar to an oyster cocktail, handed it to their friend, and he suddenly got better. That story is most like not true (all the ones that fit together perfectly usually are not.) but it does offer a connection that the prairie oyster is based off a normal oyster cocktail. While there maybe no definitive origin to this cocktail it was probably invented around the 1890s.

Does The Prairie Oyster Actually Cure Hangovers

No, of course not, but what it does do is it forces you to focus and get it together. The drink isn’t actually that bad but most people will have to psych themselves out before throwing it back. Its that few seconds of you spend staring down at that funk covered egg yolk, building up the resolve to just do it, that perks you up. It’s jumping into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed. Just try it. I bet you have all the ingredients for it right now.

Drinking Raw Eggs

As a word of warning use pasteurized eggs if you can. Pasteurized eggs are still raw like a normal egg but with all the germs killed off. The FDA guesstimates that 1 in every 40,000 eggs has salmonella. Which is super rare. For reference there is a 1 in 8000 chance of dying in a plane crash, 1 in 5000 die from choking, and around 1% of sushi test positive for salmonella. I got these numbers from the FDA and Wall Street journal. Pasteurized eggs are kinda hard to find so you can pasteurizing them yourself or just roll the dice. If you have one of those fancy sous vide devices it’s really easy to just pasteurize them yourself. As someone who has had Salmonella poisoning before, I can say it is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. It feels like your intestines are possessed by the devil and being fed into a paper shredder. About a day or 2 in you start to think that you will actually die and you hope for death to come quick just to end it. Again 1 in every 40,000. So incredibly rare, and if you get Salmonella you’re much more likely to get it the same way I did, by eating food in somewhere with no running water, where people don’t wash their hands. I’ve eaten countless raw eggs and have never gotten sick from raw eggs once.

Why You Should Try The Weird Stuff

Nature loves courage, and always remember that no matter how weird or gross something is to you, (be it food, drinks, clothing, music, entertainment, or anything) its somebody’s favorite thing in the world. You just have to find out why. During your life you will be presented with things (and I’m taking about objects and experiences) that you either find gross or strange (like the Prairie Oyster) and your first reaction is typically to make a face and reject it, but don’t. Whatever it is you’re making a repulsed face at is somebody’s favorite thing in the world and it is that happiness you should try and channel when experiencing anything new. Doesn’t mean you have to end up liking it but you should always approach new experiences looking to find the joys in them. So take the risk and try something strange and remember this is someone favorite thing in the world. You just have to find why, because there is no telling what path that curious experience may lead you to. I learned this from Anthony Bourdain. I remember watching No Reservations in college and hearing him say before he eats anything new that he “remembers this is someones favorite dish in the whole world and my job is to find out why.”

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Prairie Oyster – Classic Early 20th Century Hangover Cure

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

78

kcal
ABV

0%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a prairie oyster.

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • 1 tsp Malt Vinegar

  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tsp Horseradish

  • 1 Dash Salt

  • 1 Dash Black Pepper

Directions

  • Crack and separate an egg yolk into a lowball glass.
  • Add malt vinegar, worcestershire sauce, horseradish.
  • Add a dash of salt and black pepper.
  • Consume the prairie oyster in a single gulp.

Recipe Video

Notes

Martini (Medium) | Classic 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Recipe

Medium Martini AKA The Perfect Martini

The last of the 3 main martinis, the medium martini is actually really good and combines the flavors of both the sweet and dry martini. The oldest printed martini recipe I could find is in the the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual. His original 1882 edition does not provide a recipe for the Martini. The original martini recipe begins to appear between the late 1880s and 1890s and is essentially a pre-prohibition style Manhattan with Old Tom Gin instead of whiskey. Harry Johnson’s recipe is half Old Tom Gin, half sweet vermouth, a dash of orange liqueur, 2 dashes Boker’s (cardamom) bitters, 2 dashes gum syrup. If you look at my original pre-prohibition style Manhattan recipe they are almost the same, save for the Old Tom Gin. But the recipe begins to change over the next decade until it settles on the more generally accepted 2 oz Old Tom, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters with an expressed lemon peel. This is the standard martini up until the 1910s when the dry variation of the martini is invented and starts to get very popular. The original martini then becomes known as a sweet martini and a medium sweet version is also made that combines the two.

Now while most bartender by the 1910s through to prohibition know of the sweet and dry martini (Not all though, even books like Hoffman house from 1912 and Jack’s Manual from 1916 only have the sweet martini), not all seemed to do medium martinis. Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks only list the sweet and dry versions. It’s not till the mid 1920s that you start to see the medium martini recipe being printed. Starting in 1925 its books like L’art du Shaker by Dominique Bristol that begin printing medium martinis. The recipe for the medium martini is exactly the same regardless of the book. 1/2 dry gin, 1/4 dry vermouth, 1/4 sweet vermouth and most do not have a garnish for this drink. The exception to this is the Waldorf-Astoria’s recipe which has an expressed lemon peel and Spanish olive like the dry martini.

I chose to go with the Waldorf-Astoria recipe because I like the lemon oil and olive as a garnish. I think it makes the drink better. If you ignore the garnish the recipe for this cocktail is the exact same from the 1920 to the 1970s (I don’t own a cocktail recipe book from the 1980s). Somewhere after the 1970s this started to be called a perfect martini. I can’t find exactly when or by who but the name perfect martini is just as common today as a medium martini. For all 3 of my martini recipes I chose to go with the Savoy naming structure for martinis because it is the most clear and concise.

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Martini (Medium) | Classic 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

163

kcal
ABV

29%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic medium/perfect martini

Ingredients

  • 2/3 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 2/3 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass. Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 15 – 20 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass, express an lemon peel over the top, and garnish with an Spanish olive

Notes

Double Barrel – 1895 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

The Mighty Double Barrel Cocktail

While not as alcoholic as a manhattan it has much more flavor. For this cocktail George Kappeler just put it all together. Both sweet and dry vermouth and both orange and angostura bitters. The recipe calls for just whiskey but with all the herbal flavors in this cocktail the spiciness of rye mixes well. Sadly this drink didn’t have much of a life outside of George Kappeler’s books and is absent from most any other book after. If you’re looking for an awesome drink that was forgotten by time give the Double Barrel a shot.

George Kappeler And The New York Holland House Hotel

Like the Waldorf-Astoria, the Holland House Hotel in New York had one of the best bars in the country. Interestingly both hotels were right down the street from each other Holland House on 30th and 5th and the Waldorf-Astoria on 34th and 5th, the present day location of the Empire State Building. Opened December 7th, 1891 the interior of the Holland house was considered its prized jewel. The New York Times in 1891 praised its beautiful carved marble interiors, ornate rooms, mosaic floors and describe the hotel as a marvel of bronze, marble and glass work. Managing the hotels cafe and restaurant Bar was one of the top bartenders in the New York George Kappeler. He’s credited with inventing many famous cocktail, a few still popular today, and was the first to describe a classic whiskey cocktail as being old fashion. He used the term old fashioned to differentiate from his other fancy and standard whiskey cocktails. George published his first cocktail book in 1895 and a updated second edition in 1906.

The good times did not last though and by the mid 1910s most of the wealthy New York clients moved further north to park avenue and the hotel started to fall on hard times. With the passing of the 18th amendment and the Volstead Act going into effect on January 17th, 1920 the hotels few remaining revenue streams dried up and the hotel was sold. The Holland house closed that same year and was converted to an office building. The interior was gutted to make room for office spaces and like the Waldorf-Astoria, a vital piece of american cocktail history was lost. Although unlike the Waldorf-Astoria the building is still standing on 30th and 5th next to Marble Collegiate Church. The grand interior is long gone but it’s still fun to see the façade of the once great Holland House.

The Most Important Part

Vermouth is obviously always important and worth sending a little more for to get a quality product but the whiskey you use will have the biggest impact on this cocktail. George Kappeler only wrote to use whiskey but I personally feel a nice spicy rye whiskey with a bit of burn works really well here. Bourbon is good but it ends up being too sweet getting lost in the mix. The strong herbal wine flavors of the vermouth, the earthy angostura bitters, and citrusy orange bitters are better balanced by a spicy rye. Also since its only 1 ounce of whiskey it needs to be a bit stronger and have some burn to offset the 2 ounces of vermouth.

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Double Barrel – 1906 George Kappeler’s Modern American Drink

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

152

kcal
ABV

25%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Double Barrel

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 1 oz Rye Whiskey

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 10 – 15 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into a glass.
  • Garnish with 2 maraschino cherries.

Notes

Absinthe Drip – Vintage Cocktail Recipe of the Green Fairy

The History of Absinthe

Absinthe was invented in the 1790s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French Pharmacist living in Switzerland at the time as a way to kill intestinal tapeworms. The Pharmacist figured that wormwood oil would be even more effective at killing worms if it was mixed with a super high proof alcohol. Absinthe would be bottled anywhere from 50 to 75% alcohol. To make it taste better if it was flavored with star anise and fennel. In 1912 absinthe was banned for public safety because wormwood oil is actually really dangerous in high doses and people would begin to hallucinate at toxic levels. LSD had pink elephants and Absinthe had the green fairy. It was replaced with other anise flavored alcohols that lacked wormwood oil and in 2007 the ban was lifted and Absinthe is legally able to be sold again. This time minus the wormwood.

Absinthe Without a Sugar Cube

You don’t need a sugar cube if you don’t want to add it but without some kind of sweetener an Absinthe Drip is a bit too intense. I wouldn’t recommend not having some kind of sugar added. Simple syrup and plain water will work fine too. The sugar cube has no effect on the color of the cocktail and is simply there to make the high level of oils more palatable. Again this all goes back to when Absinthe was used as an actual medicine and a common way to make medicine taste better was to add sugar. Also the speed of the drip doesn’t matter, add the water fast or drip it in slow. I’ve tried not adding sugar before and it’s awful. It taste like drinking the kind of essential oils you would add to a diffuser. Also the fountain and spoon are all part of the presentation and more theatrics than necessary to making the drink.

Why Absinthe turns a Milky White Color in Water

So there is actually quite a bit of star anise, fennel, coriander, and other wood oils in absinthe. It’s these oils that give it its intense flavor and also provided its medicinal qualities. lipids, like oil, are soluble in alcohol because molecularly they are very similar. likes dissolve likes. Therefore the high percentage of alcohol and low percentage of water is able to act as a solution to the herb oil and keep them in a nice clear evenly suspended solution. Once the alcohol to water ratio drops low enough, as in the case of this cocktail, the strongly hydrophobic oil is repelled by the water and separates from the ethanol molecule. The oil then bonds to other free floating repelled oils. We perceive these large groups of suspended oil molecules as cloudiness.

Typically the oil molecules will just keep bonding together until they form a fat blob of oil (pun intended) that floats to the top. Just like a balsamic vinaigrette. This effect is called the Ostwald Ripening effect. But unlike balsamic vinaigrette, Absinthe with water will stay cloudy almost indefinitely. Why? Truth is scientist don’t fully know why. This effect is called the Ouzo Effect or Louching. What the scientist discover was at a certain point the oil molecules stopped bonding together and these small groups of oil floated evenly away from the surrounding alcohol, water, AND the other oil groups. And they don’t know why. Some of their guesses are after the oil molecule broke free of the alcohol molecule it picked ups slight negative charge and once enough oil bonds together the charge is strong enough that it pushes away from the other negatively charged groups of oil. Another guess what maybe the Osmotic pressure kept them from further bonding together. This effect can be observed in any liqueur made from infused oil. Orange liqueur will do the same thing when you add water, Limoncello, essential oils, etc. Its nothing specific to Absinthe, but any oil infused high proof solution. To drive the point home further, a non cocktail example of this is dissolving real lipid based, saponified soap in water. Most “soap” these days are actually detergents and not true soap. Actual chemically correct soap is a combination of oils and glycerol. An easy to find real soap is that Dr. Bonners liquid Castile soap, just add it to water and see it turn cloudy like absinthe. The oils are bonded to glycerol, glycerol is an alcohol, and when the soap dissolves in the water it turns it a cloudy white color.

Absinthe and the Green Fairy

Absinthe earned the title of the Green Fairy in the 1800s because of the madness it was said to give those who drank it. This madness was most likely the result of just drinking too many of them and getting blackout drunk, and at 50 – 75% ABV that’s very easy to do. It is also possible that at high enough doses, wormwood is toxic to humans and can bring about psychosis and eventually death. There is a saying that the only difference between a remedy and a poison is quality. It didn’t help absinthe’s image that many artist and social outcast were fans of this cocktail and some of their more eccentric behaviors were believed to be results of drinking too much absinthe. So for better or worse, in 1912, Absinthe was banned in most or Europe and the United States and replaced in many cocktails by the much lower proof anise Liqueur. But if you would like to experience the cocktail that enchanted Oscar Wilde, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and many others than give this simple drink a taste.

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Absinthe Drip – Vintage Cocktail Recipe of the Green Fairy

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: French
Servings

1

servings
Calories

201

kcal
ABV

16%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Absinthe Drip.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Absinthe

  • 1/3 oz Simple Syrup

  • 4 oz Water

Directions

  • Simply combine Ice cold water with simple syrup and absinthe in a cup and enjoy.
  • For a fancier presentation place a sugar cube on a slotted absinthe spoon over cup with absinthe.
  • Slowly drip ice cold water from an absinthe fountain onto the sugar cube to dissolve it.
  • Add as much or as little water as needed for the desired taste.

Notes

Yale Cocktail – present Day Variation of the 1800s Classic

The Original Yale To Present Day Variations

This drink dates back to the late 1800s and the oldest printed recipe I can find for it is from the 1895 book Modern American Drinks by George Kappeler. The original Yale Cocktail is 3 dashes orange bitters, 1 dash peyschaud bitters, a piece of lemon-peel, one jigger of Old Tom gin and a squirt of soda water. Another early version of the Yale, and the most referenced, is the Old Waldorf Astoria’s recipe of; A dash of orange bitters, 1.5 oz of Old Tom gin, 1.5 oz of sweet Vermouth and a squirt of soda water. These are fairly different recipes for the same cocktail both from around the same time but I will edge on the side The Old Waldorf here over George Kappeler. The Old Waldorf Astoria book makes a special mention under this cocktail that is their bar was one of the favorite weekend hangouts for Yale students. I imagine if any bar knew how to make the namesake cocktail of Yale, it would be the most popular Yale student hangout. That is why I have gone with the Waldorf recipe over the older George Kappeler Recipe.

The Yale Cocktail recipe stayed mostly consistent up until prohibition with the last one in this style being Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 recipe from his book Recipes For Mixed Drinks. After prohibition things start to get a bit weird and the sweet vermouth is replaced with dry vermouth and Crème Yvette and blue orange liqueur start to get added. One of the more modern variations uses Creme de Violette. Not to say these post prohibition recipes are bad, In fact the creme de violette one is pretty good, they are just not anything like the pre-prohibition ones.

Ivy League Universities And The Cocktail Named After Them

In the United States there is a collection of 8 universities referred as the Ivy League universities. Really the term is used to group the universities by their sporting league but it also eludes to their heritage. 7 of the 8 were universities prior to american revolution, Cornell being the odd man out, and hold themselves to a high esteem. There are 2 other elite pre-revolution Universities but they are too far from the others to be part of the same league. In fact the term Ivy League was first coined by a sports writer in the 1930s describing the upcoming football season.

Like any good sport rivalry, each university in the Ivy League also has a cocktail named after them. The Harvard and Yale cocktails are the most famous of the Ivy League cocktails and for good reason. They taste the best compared to the others and I actually prefer the more contemporary blue colored Yale Cocktail to the older ones. As you can also see I know absolutely nothing about team sports. I know there are balls and points but past that not much else. I was more of a D&D and Japanese manga kinda kid.

The Most Important Ingredient

The most important ingredient in this modern variation of the Yale is the Old Tom gin. Normal dry gin just doesn’t cut and makes the cocktail taste too much like just a blue colored dry martini. Old Tom gin gives a wonderful softness that works well with the creme de violette and makes for a floral, citrusy, and mildly sweet cocktail. Dry gin just overpowers the other flavors. The herbal notes of the dry gin end up competing with the floral and citrus flavors and end just mudding the flavor.

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Yale Cocktail – Classic late 1800s Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

240

kcal
ABV

30%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Yale cocktail named after the Ivy League School and sporting the universities iconic blue color.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Creme de Violette

  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

  • 2 oz Old Tom Gin

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink. 
  • Strain into glass and garnish with a lemon peel

Notes

Whiskey Julep – Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Recipe

The History of Julep Cocktails And Their Ancient Origins

The history of the Julep goes all the way back to ancient Persia (modern day Iran). Rosewater was thought to have health benefits and the word for rosewater in old Persian is gulab (gul=rose, ab=water). Gulab slowly made it way to the surrounding Arabic cultures and over time the word Gulab changed to Julāb and it was used to describe any kind of sweetened medicinal syrup. Julābs eventually made their way to western Europe an in England and syrupy medicines are called Julaps or Julapums. By the mid 1700s there were all kinds or julaps. Rose water julap was called Julapum Rosatum and used for treating Heart issues, Julapum tabaci was tobacco infused syrup for treating asthma, Julapum sedativum was opium syrup, and Julapum Stomachicum was a mint infused syrup used to settle upset tummies. I found many kinds of other Julapums but this is good enough. Also most of what I found was written in latin and google translate can only do so much. A medical journal I found online from the 1750s calls for a Julapum Stomachicum to be a peppermint infused sweetener mixed with sherry. What we today consider a mint julep emerges around the early 1800s. The British 1827 home medical book Oxford Night Caps refers to a mint julap as a mint syrup mixed with brandy that a parent can make to ease the upset tummy of a child.

With it’s unique drinking culture, the mint julep ended up taking on a different identity in the United States. Mint juleps were dressed up and made fancy for saloon patrons looking to get buzzed. The oldest printed recipe of this saloon style julep comes Jerry Thomas’s 1862 edition of The Bar Tenders Guide and the recipe is: 1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar. 2 1/2 table-spoonfuls of Water, mix well with a spoon. 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh mint. 1 1/2 wine glass Cognac brandy, dash with Jamaica rum and sprinkle white sugar on top. Jerry Thomas also has recipes for a gin julep, whiskey julep, and a pineapple julep which is a pineapple syrup and gin cocktail.

The mint julep stays a brandy cocktail for a very long time and most bartenders and recipe books copy Jerry Thomas till around the late 1800s. Books in the late 1880s mention how the once loved julep had fallen in favor to other more complex cocktails and is typically something only the older men order. It is also around this time that the mint julep recipe replaces brandy for bourbon. The first instance of this is in the 1888 book Bartender’s Manual by Theodore Proulx where he has his recipe for a mint julep that uses bourbon instead of brandy. Whether this change is accidental or intentional it figures it would happen when the cocktail begins to fade from bartender’s repertoire. As decades passed the mint julep and whiskey julep merged till it just became standard to make a mint julep with whiskey.

Mint Julep Variations

This specific version is the whiskey julep variation of the mint julep. Had you ordered a mint julep in the 1800s you would be given a brandy cocktail instead but the whiskey variation is the most common one made today. All the other variations of the mint julep are almost completely forgotten today and most everyone only know of the mint julep. Jerry Thomas had recipes for a gin julep, whiskey Julep, pineapple julep and a plain brandy julep. Harry Johnson added the Champagne Julep too in his 1882 book Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual. An 1885 book called New guide for the hotel, bar, restaurant, butler, and chef by someone named Bacchus has 9 different Julep recipes. Granted they are not worth listing here as they are all kinda lousy.

The Most Important Ingredient

I personally feel the most important part of any julep is the crushed or shaved ice you will pack the cup with. This cocktail should have the spirit of a snow cone that taste of sweet mint and booze and the ice should be rounded over the rim. Otherwise it comes across as an old fashioned if you don’t pack the cup with ice and the julep should be more of a refreshing hot daytime summer drink and not a smoky old nighttime bar drink.

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Whiskey Julep | Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Recipe

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

211

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic whiskey julep. Often mistaken for a mint julep, which traditionally uses brandy as its base, the whiskey julep is an amazing cocktail. This recipe dates from the 1862 edition of the Bartenders guide by Jerry Thomas.

Ingredients

  • 5

  • Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 oz

  • Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz

  • Bourbon
  • 2 dashes

  • Gold Rum

Directions

  • Add the simple syrup and mint to a mixing glass.
  • Press the mint leaves into the syrup to infuse it with the mint’s flavor.
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice and add the base spirit.
  • Mix the drink for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Fill your serving glass with crushed ice and strain the drink into the serving glass.
  • Garnish with a bouquet fo mint and dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe Video

Notes

Whiskey Cocktail | The Original Pre-Prohibition Old Fashioned

The History Of The Whiskey Cocktail

Before people started calling this an Old Fashioned, it was just a Whiskey Cocktail. Prohibition brought about a massive paradigm shift in the way cocktails were made. Prior to the ratification of the 18th amendment and the start of prohibition lightly flavored high quality spirits were popular among many drinkers. You can identify these vintage style American cocktails by a couple ounces of a base spirit that is lightly flavored with no more than 2 or 3 dashes of other flavorful ingredients and just enough sweetness to cut the spirits burn. With the start of prohibition in 1917 the quality of most liquor greatly diminished and high quality spirits were priced out of most peoples range, and most trained bartenders left the profession and got jobs that were not illicit. Suddenly over night there was a loss of quality product and knowledge. The cocktails that gained in popularity were the highball and sour style cocktails. Not to say they didn’t exist before this but prohibition had made them more popular. highballs and sours had the benefit of being slightly easier to make and having larger amounts of strong flavored ingredients that helped mask the taste of poor quality spirits. The epitome of this being the tiki drink. Which was created during prohibition and saw the first tiki bar open in Hollywood CA in 1933, immediately once prohibition ended. If an older individual wanted to order a whiskey cocktail like they remembered having prior to prohibition they would need to ask for a whiskey cocktail made in the old fashion. Keep in mind, prohibition lasted for 16 years, a person turning 21 in 1917 was now 37. An entire drinking generation had grown up not having access to these kind of cocktails.

Before prohibition the bitter used in this classic cocktail were Boker’s Bitters. Unfortunately the company that manufactured Boker’s Bitters was already on hard times in the early 1910s and with the start of prohibition they closed their doors forever. Those that knew the recipe ended up taking it to their graves. Angostura Bitters ended up replacing Boker’s since people were unable to get this classic ingredient or even find people who knew what it was made of. Oddly enough a bottle of Boker’s Bitters was found in the 2000s in a deceased man attic and the very old tincture was reverse engineered. It was found to be a primarily Cardamom bitter with other citrus and spices flavors. Since this discovery Cardamom bitters made in the Boker’s style have started popping up on store shelve.

The other lost ingredient was gum syrup which was replaced with standard simple syrup. It’s not that gum arabic disappeared but that gum syrup is really difficult to make and can take quite a while to fully emulsify. Untrained prohibition-era bartenders didn’t have the skill or patience to make an ingredient that most speakeasy drinkers didn’t even want.

What does It taste Like

The classic whiskey cocktail still taste strongly of bourbon and has very forward caramel and oak flavors, but the bitters add almost an Indian spice to it. The boker’s style bitters add a cardamom, cinnamon, herbal, citrus flavor that taste very much like traditional spices for Indian food. The small amount of gum syrup thickens the consistency giving the drink a velvet full body. the body is similar to that of a red wine. To me it’s completely different from a modern old fashion. I can see reasons for preferring one over the other as they are very different from each other and both are an acquired taste.

The Most Important Ingredient

The most important ingredient in a pre-prohibition style whiskey cocktail is the cardamom bitters. This one ingredient completely changes the direction of the drink. Angostura has a dark heavy, spicy, bark, earthy flavor but boker’s style cardamom bitters are bright and fragrant Indian spices and citrus flavors. The Gum syrup does play a nice role in changing the body to more of a milky full body red but normal simple syrup will still work fine, but it’s the bitters that define this cocktail.

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Jerry Thomas’s Whiskey Cocktail – The Original Old Fashioned

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

213

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic whiskey cocktail the old fashion is based on.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Cardamom Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Gum Syrup

  • 2 oz Bourbon

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

Star Cocktail | Classic 1895 George Kappeler Recipe

First appearing in 1895, this drink originally used gum syrup to sweeten it but simple syrup works as well. This is a delicious drink but don’t take my word for it, make it yourself.

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Star Cocktail | A Classic Pre-Prohibition Brandy Cocktail

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

182

kcal
ABV

26%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a classic Star Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

  • 1 tsp Gum Syrup

  • 1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 1.5 oz Brandy

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

Sazerac Cocktail – The Quintessential New Orleans Cocktail

This is the quintessential New Orleans cocktail. If you want you can substitute the brandy for Whiskey and the absinthe for anise liqueur and this drink will still be good. Outside of New Orleans Whiskey was a popular substitute for brandy.

Once absinthe became illegal in the U.S. in 1912, bartenders began substituting it for anise liqueur. The Peychaud’s bitters on the other hand are what make this drink and cannot be replaced. Invented in the mid 1800s by a guy named Aaron Bird, this drink was unknown outside of New Orleans until the early 1900s.

The Sazerac is essentially the French influenced New Orleans variation of the Old Fashioned. Aaron named the drink after the brand of brandy/cognac (Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils) being imported by a local merchant that he first used to construct this drink.

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Sazerac Cocktail – The Quintessential Cocktail of New Orleans

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

226

kcal
ABV

34%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the a classic Sazerac.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Absinthe

  • 1 tsp Peychauds Bitters

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Brandy

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes

Rob Roy Cocktail – Classic Early 1900s Old Waldorf Astoria Recipe

This is literally just a Manhattan made with Scotch instead of bourbon. I wont lie, I just added this here to pad my Scotch section up a bit. There just aren’t that many cocktails made with Scotch, but having said that, this is a damn fine version of the Manhattan.

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Rob Roy Cocktail – Original Old Waldorf Astoria Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

193

kcal
ABV

32%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the classic Rob Roy cocktail for the 1935 Old Waldorf Astoria cocktail book which documented the drinks they served from 1880 to 1920. As a Manhattan made with scotch this is sure to delight.

Ingredients

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth

  • 2 oz Scotch

Directions

  • Add Ice To Mixing Glass and combine all ingredients in the mixing glass.
  • Stir the ingredients for 20 – 30 seconds to properly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain into glass.

Notes