The “Old Hickory” Cocktail, A classic named for a President

The “Old Hickory” Cocktail, A classic named for a President

This drink was named for the 7th US President Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson. I read that he developed a taste for the cocktail while stationed in Louisiana during the Battle of New Orléans, in 1815. Nice. Stir yourself one and read on to the fascinating history behind the man and the drink.

The Old Hickory

1.5 parts Cocchi Americano Aperitivo
1.5 parts Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino
4 dashes Dillon’s Pear Bitters
4 dashes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

Combine ingredients in stirring vessel, stir and strain into chilled coupé. Garnish with orange peel, after expressing orange oils over top of the drink.


Old Hickory Cocktail

How did he come by the nickname of “Old Hickory”?

Andrew Jackson was a lifelong warrior. He joined the American revolution at age thirteen. By fourteen he was an orphan, something he never forgave the British for. His ferocity in battle hardened as a teen prisoner of war. While in captivity he received a head wound from the slash of an officers sword. He used tenacity to become a young lawyer. In his early thirties he rejoined the Army, quickly rising to the rank of Major General. Hickory wood shows durability and character. So he came to be known as “tough as old hickory” on the battlefield with many decisive wins. Jackson continued his fierce ways throughout his life. He took many lives in duels and suffered many terrible gunshot wounds. One shell fragment, in his lungs, caused him to have a chronic cough. While President, he survived a “point blank” assassination attempt and reportedly gave his attempted killer a beating with his cane.

On his last day in office President Jackson remarked that his only regrets were that he was “unable to shoot [Speaker of the House] Henry Clay or to hang [Vice-President] John C. Calhoun.

Some said he was a bit of a “Jackass“, which is where the symbol of the Democratic party came from.
It would seem that this cocktail was about the only softly nuanced thing associated with President Jackson. Oddly enough he died of old age.

There’s nothing for the Vermouth to hide behind in this cocktail, so be sure to use fresh products of superior quality.
Cocchi Winery produces some of the most highly regarded aromatized wines found anywhere. The bitters in this drink are a fun variable. For this post I used the outstanding Dillon’s Pear Bitters. Their base is a 100 proof Niagara grape spirit distilled in their own copper stills. The pear tastes very fresh and is not perfume. Vanilla gives creamy texture. Ginger and cubeb provide wonderful spice on the gently lingering finish.

Dillon’s Distillery philosophy is to use all the products that they can source from within the Niagara Wine Region. They are a true farm to bottle operation.  Look out for a Bartlett Pear Eau-de-Vie and an Absinthe to be released from them soon.

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Dillon’s Distillery from Beamsville, Ontario produces a range of great spirits and bitters.


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Bartender. Dirt City Bon Vivant. Writer for @CulinaireMag | Contributor to | Partner in @justcocktails |

1 comment

  • livelikeburning

    […] This summer has been all about dry Rosé wine with a bit of Cocchi Americano in it, maybe. I love vermouth. Equal parts sweet and dry vermouth over ice. (May we suggest the Old HIckory Cocktail: LINK) […]

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