Mark Twain's Favorite Whiskey Cocktail Was Said To Be A Take On The Old Fashioned

Mark Twain and old fashion cocktails
Mark Twain and old fashion cocktails - Static Media / Shutterstock

American author Mark Twain's most notable claim to fame is penning "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." The only thing that may have rivaled the prose he poured from his pen is his love for the alcohol he poured into his glass. When Twain wasn't working on his storytelling, he developed a fondness for scotch whisky and for one drink in particular that seem very similar to a smooth old fashioned cocktail.

While a traditional old fashioned relies on a simple syrup or a sugar cube and some Angostura bitters and is served with an orange twist, Twain was partial to a different citrus. The satirist revealed his affinity for this whiskey cocktail in a letter to his wife in 1874 while he was in London, writing, "Livy my darling, I want you to be sure & remember to have, in the bath-room, when I arrive, a bottle of Scotch whisky, a lemon, some crushed sugar, & a bottle of Angostura bitters" (per The New York Times). In fact, Twain liked it so much he confessed that he was drinking it three times a day to aid with his digestion.

Read more: The 40 Absolute Best Cocktails That Feature Only 2 Ingredients

Balance Is The Goal

Ingredients for an old fashioned cocktail
Ingredients for an old fashioned cocktail - Viennetta/Getty Images

An old fashioned cocktail is all about balance -- each ingredient has an equal part to play. The sugar helps to mellow the whiskey while the bitters ensure this sweetener doesn't overpower the alcohol. The orange twist adds a subtle hint of citrus flavor. When properly made, an old fashioned doesn't immediately reveal the separate tastes of the individual ingredients. Twain's lemony substitution can make this a tough mission to accomplish as the lemon can overwhelm the other ingredients. And though his drink of choice has lemon, it's different from a whiskey sour, considered the best whiskey cocktail in a 2022 Tasting Table reader survey. If you want to try Twain's take on this boozy drink, use lemon juice and just enough that it is pleasing to your palate.

Twain's love for the old fashioned cocktail eventually ran its course, and he switched to drinking hot scotch, which is just hot water and straight scotch. The classic old fashioned cocktail still has a place at a happy hour or dinner party, though, and there are several old fashioned variations you need to try that include additions like bacon, cherries, apple cider, and even brown butter.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.