Book Review: The Old-Fashioned by Robert Simonson

The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and LoreThe Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a neat little book about the history of the old-fashioned, which–as you’ll find if you read it–is far more contentious than one might assume! Small vignettes about notorious bartenders, responses to Prohibition, and the various reputations surrounding various versions of the drink reflect Simonson’s copious research as well as his knack for retelling it. My favorite aspect of the book, being a lifelong Wisconsinite myself, was the appearance of our state in the story of this shapeshifting cocktail. (Spoiler: Wisconsin is one of few places in which the preferred recipe of the old-fashioned has remained unchanged and popular through time… since the early 1900s!) There are also over 40 recipes for variations on the old-fashioned at the end of the book. The photographs throughout the book may be the actual star of this book, though–they are deliciously atmospheric and quite lovely.

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