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The Forbidden Fusion: How the Old Fashioned got it's flavor

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

In the annals of history, few episodes have left an indelible mark on American culture quite like the era of Prohibition. From 1920 to 1933, the United States underwent a transformative period, where the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages were banned. The prohibition era gave rise to speakeasies, bootlegging, and a thriving black market. However, in the midst of this social upheaval, a fascinating trend emerged—the art of adding fruit to whiskey. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of prohibition and explore the intriguing practice of infusing whiskey with fruits to create unique flavor profiles.

To understand the significance of adding fruit to whiskey during Prohibition, it is essential to grasp the historical context. The temperance movement, which gained momentum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sought to curtail the consumption of alcohol due to concerns about its detrimental effects on society. The 18th Amendment, ratified in 1919, banned the production, importation, and sale of alcoholic beverages across the United States. This ushered in an era of social transformation, as well as opportunities for innovation.

With the nationwide ban on alcohol, a clandestine culture of speakeasies emerged. These secret establishments, hidden behind unmarked doors and concealed locations, became the social epicenters for those seeking to indulge in prohibited libations. Bootleggers, individuals who smuggled and distributed alcohol illegally, met the growing demand for spirits, often producing low-quality products or repurposing industrial alcohol. However, these turbulent times also spurred creativity among those who sought to enhance the otherwise inferior liquors.

In an attempt to mask the harsh flavors of bootlegged whiskey, enterprising individuals began experimenting with adding fruits and other flavorings to improve the taste. The process involved infusing whiskey with various fruits such as cherries, apples, peaches, and citrus, allowing the natural sugars and aromas to transform the spirit. This technique not only altered the taste but also helped make the rough-edged bootleg whiskey more palatable.

Adding fruit to whiskey was not a new concept during Prohibition. However, the scarcity of quality spirits during those times made it a popular practice for both bootleggers and consumers alike. The process typically involved placing fruit slices or peels into a container, pouring whiskey over them, and allowing the flavors to meld over time. Some recipes called for adding spices, herbs, or even sweeteners to further enhance the infusion. The result was a range of flavored whiskeys that offered a more enjoyable drinking experience despite the limitations imposed by Prohibition.

Although the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, the tradition of adding fruit to whiskey has endured. Today, Your Grandpa's Old Fashioned ingredients of sugar, bitters, and orange have gained popularity. These simple flavors boast complex flavor profiles that appeal to a wide range of palates. So sit back, sip and enjoy the tradition of a little sugar and fruit all bundled up into Your Grandpa's Old Fashioned cocktail sugar cubes.

Anold fashioned cocktail sits on a granite table
The Perfect Old Fashioned Cocktail

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