The more classic a cocktail, the harder it is to pinpoint its origins. However, that’s not the case for the Old Fashioned, which made its formal debut at Louisville’s Pendennis Club in the late 1880s. It started out simple enough: a sugar cube, bourbon, ice, and a few dashes of bitters. During Prohibition, it morphed into the muddled-fruit cocktail served in most bars today.
32 East in Delray Beach decided to buck the trend and serve both versions. “When it comes to drinks, there’s no right way or wrong way,” says bar manager John Fitzpatrick. His opinion is paying off: Both drinks are enormously popular, but the Classic outsells the Prohibition version by two to one on a busy weekend evening.
Old Fashioned Classic
1 large sugar cube
2 oz. Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon
Orange zest for garnish
In a mixing glass, coat sugar cube with bitters until emulsified. Add bourbon then fill glass 2/3 with ice and stir for 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into a highball glass over an oversized ice cube. Rim glass with orange zest and garnish drink.
Old Fashioned Prohibition
1 orange slice
2 tsp. sweet corn–infused water
2 oz. Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
Orange and mole bitters
French, brandied cherry juice
3 Luxardo maraschino cherries for garnish
In a highball glass, muddle orange slice with sweet corn–infused water. Add bourbon, ice, two drops each of bitters, and a dash of French, brandied cherry juice. Turn drink up and down in the glass, then add ice and a splash of soda. Garnish with a spear of cherries.