1964 was an interesting year for Americans. Lyndon B. Johnson was the president, millions of people attended the mid-century marvel, the New York Worlds Fair, and Bourbon was legally declared “a distinctive product of the United States”. This was big news and cemented Bourbon’s status years later as “America’s Native Spirit”.
Americans in the mid-60s had fully embraced cocktail culture and over-the-top home entertaining was in style. The Southern Comfort “Barmate” publication, distributed with the November 1964 issue of Playboy, is a fine example of the recipes of the time. Although it’s a booklet made to introduce people to this whiskey-flavored liqueur, there are some “regular” recipes as well. I based my cocktail on the “Regular Old Fashioned”.
Muddle together one sugar cube with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of water.
Add ice and 2 oz. of Bourbon. I used Woodford Reserve.
Garnish with a slice of orange and maraschino cherries. (lemon twist optional)
There are many variations of Old Fashioneds, including those that muddle the fruit along with the sugar and bitters. The correct way to make one is a subject of much debate and I usually tend toward the simpler, fruitless type. But hey, we’re talking about the 60s here, and a well-garnished Old Fashioned was a very stylish drink.
Another bourbon cocktail that deserves your attention is the Mint Julep. This classic American cocktail was also popular in the 60s and has roots as old as America itself.
Muddle 8-10 mint or spearmint leaves with a tsp. of sugar and a dash of water. Add 2 oz. of bourbon and stir. Fill the cup (preferably metal) with crushed ice and serve when the cup is frosted.
If you’re looking for some period snacks to go with your cocktails, I’d suggest taking a look at this pamphlet from the New York Worlds Fair. You really can’t go wrong with Hot Doggities!