Vintage bourbon cocktails from Molly Wellmann

Molly Wellmann

Molly Wellmann shakes things up at A Flavor Affair. Photo by Frank Becker, courtesy of Bourbon Women

Cocktails were originally created to make less-than-stellar spirits more palatable by masking them with other ingredients. But now the philosophy is to enhance the spirit, not cover it up, says Cincinnati mixologist Molly Wellmann.

Molly has studied the classic cocktails of the past and  adds her own flair to them behind the bar at the three bars she co-owns in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area – the Famous Neon’s Unplugged, Japps Since 1879 and the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar. She’s also the author of “Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night.”

During a quick cocktail class at the Bourbon Women’s Flavor Affair event – part of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s inaugural Bourbon Affair – she shared two drinks that would be quite refreshing sipped slowly on the front porch. Here are the recipes:


Bourbon Daisy*

2oz bourbon (she used Four Roses Yellow Label for both)

.5oz simple syrup

.5 oz lemon juice

Dash of orgeat (almond syrup, pronounced “or-zsa”)**

Top with sparkling water

In a highball glass add bourbon, simple syrup, lemon and orgeat. Stir. Fill with ice and top with sparkling soda.

 * “Daisy” was a Victorian term that meant “swell” or “great.”

** Here’s a simple recipe from Buy almond milk at a health food store (it’s next to the soy milk), mix 1½ parts sugar to 1 part almond milk (2:1 if your almond milk is unsweetened), heat until all the sugar has dissolved, and once cooled add rose and orange flower waters to taste.


The Fancy Free

2 oz. bourbon

½ oz. maraschino liqueur

2 dashes orange bitters

1 dash angostura bitters

In a lowball or old fashioned glass with ice, combine all ingredients and stir gently until well mixed. Garnish with a large orange twist.


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