Here's one from Robert Simonson's The Old Fashioned, which, if you like Old Fashioneds, is a book worth picking up. It's divided into two sections. The first one covers the history of the drink and includes background on a variety of things pertaining to the Old Fashioned. The role of the Whiskey Cocktail is discussed here, how it evolved and how the drinking public helped shape a new name (Old Fashioned) for it when the confusion and novelty of various 'improvements' got in the way of what was initially a simple but beguiling affair - whiskey, bitters, sugar and a splash of water.

There's a chapter on 'The Fruit Wars' which addresses the controversial relationship fruit has had with the drink. The drink has had other adornments too - prior to prohibition the drink was usually served with a small spoon (possibly to get at any undissolved sugar). And once a chunk of ice became involved some saloons went further, cutting the ice into diamonds or having spheres of ice sized just right for the serving glass. Sound familiar?

The second section is all recipes. The book is especially good at accommodating those who, like me, are inclined to tackle both sections at once. Reading about the history of a drink, with that drink in hand, is an enjoyable experience. Though I'm sure it will come as no surprise that too much time spent in the second section may come at the expense of the first. No matter. Reading and mixing from this book is a worthwhile endeavor regardless of how you approach it. 

One more note on the book's layout. The portion that's devoted to recipes is divided into three sections: Old School, Standard Variations, and Modern Classics. There are so many good recipes in each of those sections. The Haunted House is one but really, if you're looking for a boozy, contemplative, peace-restoring beverage, the book has you covered.



The Haunted House has rye, rum, Swedish punsch, ginger and Angostura. On paper it looks pretty far removed from your standard whiskey, sugar and bitters style of Old Fashioned. And it is, but such is the appeal of the 'Modern Variations' section. Purists can find plenty of refuge in the 'Old School' recipes. In the subsequent sections however, the spirit-driven structure of the drink is played with a bit more freely.

Here, the base is split between two spirits - rye and rum. You get some Jamaican rum flavor from Appleton V/X and additional proof from the rye. Then things get interesting. Swedish punsch brings more rum, spice and hints of lemon along with its signature, singular funk courtesy of Batavia Arrack, the Indonesian sugarcane and red rice spirit central to the production of Swedish punsch. Add a spicy kick from the ginger and things are moving right along. Rich and exotic with plenty of flavor, some spice and a decent amount of heat.  


The Haunted House - Jeremy Oertel, Donna, Brooklyn
1 oz Appleton V/X
1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/4 oz Ginger Syrup*
2 dashes Angostura
Garnish - Orange Peel

Stir, strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass.

*Ginger Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
1 knob (2 inch) Fresh Ginger, sliced into coins

Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once it boils remove from heat, let cool and strain. 

I tend to have the ginger syrup discussed here on hand. It's basically blending, then straining equal parts sugar, boiling water and ginger. When making The Haunted House with that syrup I usually cut the amount specified in half.


side note - the drink is named after a band that the owner of Donna was in.