The Cocktail College Podcast: Vintage Cocktails

“Cocktail College” is brought to you by George Dickel. Let me tell you a little story, listener. From the very beginning, as one of the oldest distilleries in Tennessee, George Dickel was determined to do things differently — rethink American whiskey using fresh spring water as well as tried and true distillation techniques. And here’s why I’m excited to partner with Dickel today: Whether you’re talking Tennessee whiskey or Bourbon, DIckel actually puts both of those different types of spirits out there. You can argue the differences between yourselves. And, when it comes to sipping, we’re talking high-age statements with some of the best value you can find in American whiskey. Seriously, we’ve been fans here at Vinepair for years. We’ve championed Dickel for years, which is why it’s so awesome to be partnering today. But this is a cocktail podcast, so let’s talk about mixing options. I like to turn to the Dickel Bourbon, which feels just at home in those classic cocktails that we always cover here, as well as those modern classics we like to get into as well. Listener, head to to get inspired and start mixing with our old pal, George Dickel. Cheers.

The bourbon boom has shown us that certain bottles can become collector’s items — like Pappy Van Winkle and certain expressions from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection — but those holy grails are just the minor leagues in the eyes of vintage spirit collectors, a.k.a. “dusty hunters.”

Although distillers are still experts at their craft, of course, recent times have seen companies make quality compromises to ramp up profits, get eaten up by larger multinational conglomerates, and hide questionable products behind the dazzle of celebrity endorsements. Needless to say, many of the spirits we know and love just ain’t what they used to be. That’s why these dusty hunters scour the globe, traveling from estate sale to estate sale in search of sometimes hundred-year-old bottles from long-shuttered distilleries.

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For many, tracking down these liquid time capsules is merely a hobby. For others, they’ve become a means of expanding their bar programs. The stocks of these bottles are ever-dwindling, but that hasn’t stopped bartenders from looking beyond the neat pour and incorporating these spirits into “vintage” cocktails.

To discuss the phenomenon, we sat down with Aaron Goldfarb, a longtime VinePair contributor and author of the recently released “Dusty Booze: In Search of Vintage Spirits.” As the names of both today’s episode and Goldfarb’s newest book suggest, this episode will take us on a historical deep dive, and shed light on one of the most fascinating facets of modern drinks culture: vintage cocktails. Tune in for more.

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Aaron Goldfarb’s 1953 Vintage Vesper Recipe


  • 3 parts 1953 Gordon’s Gin
  • 1 part 1953 Smirnoff Vodka
  • ½ part Kina Lillet


  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until well chilled.
  3. Strain into a vintage cocktail glass.

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Get your copy: “Dusty Booze: In Search of Vintage Spirits”

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