The Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is probably the first drink to be officially called a cocktail. It is usually served in a short, 8-12 ounces glass, which is named after the drink. The word "cocktail" was originally defined in the May 13, 1806 issue of "The Balance and Columbia Repository" published in Hudson, New York by the paper's editor as "a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water, and sugar".
The name "Old Fashioned" was originally used in the 1880s for a Bourbon whiskey cocktail invented by a bartender of a gentlemen's club in Louisville, Kentucky called Pendennis Club. It was then popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper. He brought its recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. His family distillery is now known as Labrot & Graham.
To prepare a good Old Fashioned you're going to need 50 ml rye whiskey or Bourbon, splash of simple syrup or 1 cube (3.6 g) sugar and just enough water to dissolve it, 2 dashes bitters and an Old Fashioned glass. Place sugar (or syrup), bitters, and water in old-fashioned glass, crush sugar if needed and coat glass, add 2-3 cubes ice and whiskey and garnish the beverage with the twist of a lemon peel.
Nowadays Old Fashioned is often topped with soda and served as a highball cocktail. Purists, however, claim that soda is unacceptable in a true Old Fashioned recipe. In some regions, i.e. Wisconsin, Old Fashioned cocktails are often prepared with brandy instead of whiskey.
During Prohibition some changes and additions to the recipe of the Old Fashioned ?ocktail were made. For example, some bartenders started to add fruit (i.e. orange slice) and muddle it with sugar before adding a spirit? This was done to cover the taste of poor home-distileed alcohol.
Here is an 1895 recipe for an Old Fashioned cocktail: Dissolve about 3 g of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a little ice, a lemon-peel, one jigger (44 ml) whiskey. Mix with small bar-spoon and serve, leaving spoon in glass.