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Cheers to the Past: Creating Pre-Prohibition Whiskey Cocktails


Whiskey cocktails from before Prohibition are timeless classics. These mixed drinks appeared before the United States' Prohibition period (1920-1933). Many of the recipes for traditional cocktails were lost or forgotten during this time since the production and sale of alcohol were forbidden. Many bartenders, however, have recently begun rediscovering the classic drinks that were popular before Prohibition. In this piece, we'll learn about the background of whiskey cocktails and provide several recipes you can make at home before Prohibition was enacted.


Whiskey cocktail history before Prohibition

Whiskey was the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the United States before Prohibition. It was typically drunk on its own or with a splash of water or ice. However, bartenders with a flair for innovation began mixing whiskey with other ingredients to create exciting new drinks. The most common whiskey used in these drinks was rye because it was the most widely used spirit in the United States at the time. During this time period, several of the most well-known whiskey cocktails of today were developed.

Many traditional cocktail recipes were forgotten or lost after the United States banned the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era. Some of these recipes, however, made it through families and bartenders intact. Many bartenders have, in recent years, rediscovered pre-prohibition cocktail recipes due to a resurgence in popularity for these libations.


Pre-Prohibition Whiskey Cocktail Recipes


Manhattan

The Manhattan is a classic whiskey cocktail that gained widespread popularity before Prohibition. Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters are the only ingredients in this easy-to-make cocktail. The formula is as follows:

  • 2-ounce shot of rye
  • 1 fluid ounce of vermouth
  • 2 em dashes Extract of Angostura
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Mix the rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters with ice in a shaker. Blend together and serve in a chilled cocktail glass after a good stir. Add a maraschino cherry for presentation.


Old-Fashioned

Another well-known whiskey drink popular before Prohibition was the Old Fashioned. All you need is whiskey, sugar, bitters, and water to make this easy cocktail. The formula is as follows:

  • 2-ounce shot of rye
  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 2 em dashes Extract of Angostura
  • Orange peel infused water as a garnish

The sugar cube and the bitters for an Old Fashioned should be muddled together in a mixing glass. To dissolve the sugar, add a small amount of water and whisk thoroughly. Put some ice in a glass, and then pour in some rye whiskey. Mix thoroughly and pour into a cold glass via strainer. Put an orange peel on top.


Sazerac

It was in the middle of the nineteenth century that the Sazerac, a drink beloved in New Orleans, was born. Rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud's bitters, and sugar go into its creation. The formula is as follows:

  • 2-ounce shot of rye
  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 2 em dashes The bitters of Peychaud
  • Absinthe
  • Garnish with lemon peel.

A cooled glass should be rinsed with absinthe and the surplus discarded before making a Sazerac. Stir the sugar cube and bitters together in a cocktail shaker. Stir in the rye whiskey well. Repeat the process in the cold glass. Lemon peel for garnish, please.


Whiskey Sour

Whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar are the fundamental components of the Whiskey Sour. It's great over ice or on its own. The formula is as follows:

  • 2-ounce shot of rye
  • Fresh lemon juice, 1 ounce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • A garnish of lemon wheel

Whiskey Sours are made by combining rye whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice in a shaker. Shake it up and pour it over ice in a tall glass. Put a slice of lemon on top.


Boulevardier

Like the Negroni, but with whiskey instead of gin, the Boulevardier is a classic cocktail that was popular before Prohibition. It's a sophisticated cocktail, ideal for slow consumption. The formula is as follows:

  • 1 and a half ounces of rye
  • 1 fluid ounce of vermouth
  • Campari, 1 ounce
  • To decorate, use orange peel.

A Boulevardier is made by combining rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari in a shaker full of ice. Mix thoroughly and pour into a cold glass via strainer. Put an orange peel on top.


Final Tips for Pre-Prohibition Whiskey Cocktail Recipes

It's crucial to utilize high-quality components when making whiskey cocktails that were popular before Prohibition. Use fresh ingredients like lemon juice and simple syrup, and make sure you use a good quality rye whiskey. Use plenty of ice when swirling or shaking your cocktail to ensure a cool beverage. Last but not least, don't be reluctant to play around with these standard formulas in order to develop your own unique drink.

Whiskey cocktails from before Prohibition are a time-honored tradition. Bartenders at the period were experimenting with whiskey and other ingredients to produce new and exciting beverages, which led to the development of these cocktails. A new generation of cocktail lovers is rediscovering and appreciating many of the traditional recipes of yesteryear. You may find a pre-prohibition whiskey cocktail that suits your tastes, whether you're a whiskey purist or a cocktail expert. So, it is a great day to give one of these time-honored beverages a go.