This post was sponsored by Old Dominick Distillery. All opinions are my own. I’m really excited about today’s cocktail recipe, y’all. It’s a variation of my favorite cocktail, with a new liquor to which I was recently introduced: the Memphis Toddy from Old Dominick Distillery in—you guessed it—Memphis, Tennessee. The unique flavor profile brings a whole new dimension to my favorite classic cocktail.
But first, let me introduce you to Old Dominick Distillery.
It started with 16-year-old Domenico Canale in 1859. He left his home in Italy and journeyed to Memphis, Tennessee, where three of his uncles were already living and working. He joined them and began running a fruit cart as part of his uncles’ wholesale grocery business. Several years later, Canale opened his own grocery business in a warehouse, where he sold his first jar of whiskey he called Old Dominick. In 1880, Canale developed the Dominick Toddy, a rye-based liqueur with fruit and spice flavor notes. He said himself it was “the one of which we are the proudest.”
Canale passed away in 1919, just three days before Prohibition. During Prohibition, his oldest son John Dominick Canale expanded his grocery business, eventually making it one of the largest grocery distributors in the South. It even caught attention from Anheuser-Busch and became a regional distributor for Anheuser-Busch beer. In 1965, his son John D. Canale, Jr., became president of the business and led it to some of its most prosperous years. Business continued throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, until D. Canale Beverages was sold in 2010.
Things changed in 2013, when fifth-generation grandsons Chris and Alex found an unopened bottle of Dominick Toddy, dating back to the early 1900s. They decided to reinstate their great great grandfather’s famed spirits brand, and in 2016, joined by head distiller Alex Castle, the Old Dominick Distillery produced its very first batch of Tennessee whiskey. It was the first time since Prohibition that whiskey had been legally distilled in Memphis. Now, Old Dominick proudly makes the Huling Station Bourbon Whiskey, Memphis Toddy, Memphis Vodka, and Honeybell Vodka.
If you’d like to geek out more about the history of Old Dominick, check out the full timeline on their website.
The Memphis Toddy is like no other bourbon-based spirit I’ve ever tasted. It’s made with a high-rye bourbon base, infused with cardamom, clove, black pepper, cinnamon, honey, and citrus peels. The clove and cinnamon hit you right in the face as soon as you open the bottle, and warm you up at first sip. If you can imagine drinking a hot toddy as a liqueur, that’s what the Memphis Toddy tastes like. It’s incredibly versatile—heck, you could just mix it with hot water and a lemon slice and have yourself a two-ingredient hot toddy—but Mr. Canale himself preferred it by itself over cracked ice.
For my first Memphis Toddy cocktail, I made a variation on my favorite Old Fashioned. I’ve recently started making Old Fashioneds at home, and I’m really proud to say I’ve got them down pretty well, especially for someone who’s never worked behind a bar in her life!
If you’re into cocktail history, check out The Educated Barfly’s breakdown of the Old Fashioned. Most Old Fashioneds are made with sugar, but I prefer to make mine with simple syrup instead. Sugar makes the drink a bit grainy, which isn’t my favorite thing in a cocktail, so I use the simple syrup for a smoother (and admittedly sweeter) drink. He talks more about the Old Fashioned at about 1:50 in this video.
Side note: The Educated Barfly is a really great resource for those wanting to get into home bartending. I’ve learned a lot just from watching his videos.
Anyway, for today’s cocktail, I made my favorite Old Fashioned with the Old Dominick Distillery Memphis Toddy. The spice notes give this cocktail an immediate sense of warmth, which balance well with the simple syrup, bitters, and orange peel. As the drink continues to chill, the spice mellows, but is always present with every sip. I can’t wait for you to try this for yourself!
If you like this cocktail, the Memphis Toddy works really well in many bourbon or whiskey based cocktails, especially a Hot Toddy, naturally. Try it in another drink recipe and let me know how it turns out!
If you’re local to Chattanooga, you can find Old Dominick products at Riverside Wine & Spirits, Imbibe, Chattanooga Wine & Spirits, Harry’s Wine & Spirits, and more. If you’re outside Chattanooga, check the shelves at your local store and ask if they can get it for you.
Now, let’s make a cocktail.
Spiced-Up Old Fashioned
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 4-6 dashes bitters (I do half angostura, half orange)
- 2.5 oz Old Dominick Memphis Toddy
- Orange peel for garnish
- Luxardo cherry for garnish
Add simple syrup to an old fashioned glass. Add bitters and stir lightly to combine.
Carefully drop one large ice cube into glass and stir until the cocktail is properly chilled.
Squeeze orange peel to release oils over top of the drink.
Garnish with orange and Luxardo cherry.
This post was sponsored by Old Dominick Distillery. All opinions are my own. Learn more about Old Dominick on their website.