The Old Fashioned is one of my favorite cocktails. I’m giving myself an excuse to drink them (in abundance) with a series of posts celebrating all of their wonderful whiskey forms. Mama, these drinks are for you.


Old Fashioned at Galatoire's

Old Fashioned at Galatoire’s

I grew up drinking Old Fashioneds. Well, to be accurate, sipping Old Fashioneds. They are my mother’s favorite cocktail, and whenever we went out to eat, like clockwork, she would order “an Old Fashioned, not too sweet.” Occasionally, my dad would decide to make Old Fashioneds at home. In his efforts to make simple syrup, he inevitably scattered sugar all over the counter and turned Mom’s impeccably clean kitchen into a sticky mess. Though I think she was charmed by his gesture, she was less thrilled with the clean-up. I learned early that Old Fashioneds were a treat best ordered out.

Every time I sip an Old Fashioned, I think of my Mom. Kinda like Proust and his madeleines, but with whiskey. With that (not too) sweet association in mind, I am offering a series of posts about Old Fashioneds, both traditional and modern, using them as markers of moments I’ve shared with friends and loved ones.

Many bars offer riffs on the Old Fashioned, subbing out the sugar for other sweeteners, mixing in unusual bitters, showcasing exotic booze. Others prefer to make the “original” Old Fashioned: rye whiskey and no fruit, save a Luxardo cherry as garnish. I appreciate the craft and complexity of these myriad forms, but the drink that speaks to my heart is the one I grew up sneaking extra sips of. It features oranges slices and neon red cherries muddled into a sludgy pulp at the bottom of a rocks glass brimming with whiskey. I knew the first post had feature that kind Old Fashioned, preferably ordered in the same circumstances I first tasted it: at a swanky restaurant. So we begin with the king of swanky restaurants, Galatorie’s, where they serve an Old Fashioned as traditional as it gets.

Several nights ago, I was out in the Quarter with my friend, Monique Leon. We had just finished work and deciding where to get a bite when she announced “You know, I’ve never been to Galatoire’s.” So I marched her right over, inquired if they had a table, and in minutes we were nibbling those perfect Souffle Potatoes and sipping on drinks. Galatoire’s is a favorite old-line Creole restaurant, and definitely a “treat meal.” I enjoy the pleasures of making a reservation, getting dressed to the nines, and spending the days before in anticipation of a guaranteed raucous, celebratory meal. That night, though, I discovered there is just as much delight and revelry in a spontaneous quick bite that turned into a three hour dinner.

This particular Old Fashioned featured Maker’s Mark 46, with your standard muddled cherries and oranges, and included a mix of Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters. I nursed it through the Souffle Potatoes and Oysters en Brochette, well into our Crabmeat Ravigote. Though the meal ended with Cafe Brulot (and really, how could it not?) the Old Fashioned punctuated the night. My mom would have loved it.