Thirsty Thursday: All-American Cocktails

by: Amanda Savage

Welcome to the Memorial Day weekend edition of Thirsty Thursday! AFM asked local masters of American-style culinary and cocktail creations, Culinary Dropout and Cowboy Ciao: what is the all-American cocktail?

Each mixologist chose a different drink, but they made their decision based on one key ingredient, bourbon. Bourbon is America’s liquor, so it makes sense that America’s cocktail would spotlight its native spirit.

The Old Fashioned and Manhattan are not common requests in Old Town bars: but  this holiday weekend, try something new. Sip into the nation’s history and enjoy a classic all-American cocktail.

The Old Fashioned – Culinary Dropout

Mat Snapp_EDIT

To mixologist, Mat Snapp, the all-American drink is a mixed melting pot, or melting punch bowl, of the different cultures that founded the country.

Snapp explains that “America was founded by sailors and statesmen – who drank rum and brandy with citrus and spices. A lot of it. European settlers had a huge influence on the cocktail scene with their own mix of spirits.”

Colonial style punch is difficult, if not impossible to find at a local bar. But the key ingredient of bourbon mixed with rum, brandy citrus and spice creates descendant of the punch,  the Old Fashioned.


Bourbon (recommended Maker’s 46)
Citrus peels
Sugar  cube
Splash of water

Snapp says to order it like this: “I’ll take a Maker’s 46 Old Fashioned, ice cold, no cherries, no juice. If they’re paying attention, they’ll muddle some great citrus peels with bitters and sugar, skipping those electric red maraschino cherries that are championed by girls wearing pigtails.”

The Manhattan – Cowboy Ciao 

Peter Kasperski, owner of Cowboy Ciao, explains that the Manhattan “is an American innovation.” Kasperski  says that bourbon is the quintessential liquor of the country, and that “the Manhattan is the king of Bourbon cocktails.”

“From Gold Rush prospectors to Don Draper, to modern mixologists, the Manhattan has been and continues to epitomize America and its love affair with cocktails,” says Kasperski.


Bourbon (recommended Makers Mark)
Sweet vermouth (recommended Carpano Antica)
Dash of bitters (recommended Peychaud’s)

Pour over ice in a mixing glass, stir for 30 seconds, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with two Brandied cherries (or lemon twist).

Order stirred and up!

Follow Amanda on Twitter @Amanda_Savage

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