Odd Society Distillery's
Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit
Max says: When I researched my family tree a few years ago, I discovered a long-forgotten relative named Tom ‘Ginger Paws’ McGee, who lived in New York’s gritty Bowery neighbourhood in the 1920s. At the time, the US was gripped by Prohibition and it was almost impossible for hardworking city mousers to wet their whiskers with a well-earned libation.
Spotting a gap in the market, Tom––a big-nosed bruiser with lots of scars and a black eyepatch––opened a cats-only speakeasy under a temperance bar near Cooper Square. Eager moggies quickly adopted the tiny subterranean space, with its bar-top kibble bowls, scratchable hemp walls and nightly live entertainment (burlesque legend Kitty Kat was a regular).
But the main reason thirsty cats cuddled up to the counter here was the drinks. Prohibition-era tipples were typically made with inferior ingredients. But ‘Ginger Paws’ was famous for importing top-notch liquors from Canada––and mixing them with all the skill and finesse of a feline Tom Cruise from Cocktail.
Cosmopolitans, Mint Juleps and Long Island Iced Teas were popular, of course, but Tom was especially renowned for his Old Fashioned, a belly-warming concoction of whisky, ice, a twist of orange peel and his own secret-recipe syrup. When the much-loved ginger puss passed away many years later, though, he took his recipe for this tail-twitchingly-good elixir with him.
Fast-forward a century, and I’ve never been able to replicate Tom’s fabled cocktail––until now. A gift from an admirer, I recently received an Old Fashioned Cocktail Kit from East Vancouver’s brilliant Odd Society Spirits Distillery. The kit includes a bottle of their very fine Commodore Single Malt, a large orange, an Old Fashioned recipe card and a second bottle of their house-made craft cocktail syrup.
As soon as I unscrewed this aromatic bottle, I realized I’d found the Holy Grail of Old Fashioned ingredients. Feverishly following the recipe card, it soon felt like Tom himself had somehow returned and was mixing his famous libation right alongside me. Adding the finale orange peel garnish, my paws were shaking as I gripped the glass and leaned in for a sniff. I was instantly transported.
For the rest of the afternoon, I curled up by the fire––the rain lashing at the windows outside––and savoured several glasses of the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever tasted. My thoughts meandered over all the stories I’d heard about Tom, from his penchant for overpaying his bar staff to his rumoured multi-year affair with Kitty Kat. And while I repeatedly toasted this king among cats, I also resolved to order several more Odd Society cocktail kits for all my treat-worthy friends.
Price: $50 (taxes included)
Where to buy: Old Fashioned Cocktail Kits can be ordered for pick-up at the distillery, located at 1725 Powell Street, Vancouver. Delivery is also available––see the Shipping Options section at the bottom of this page.