Cocktails have been immensely popular for since the 1800s, and especially during Prohibition in the early 20th century.. Bartenders would add fruit juices and other additives to mask the low quality of the booze that they were supplied. It was also common to add liquors such as curacao and absinthe to hard liquor such as gin and whiskey. With Kentucky and the Louisville area being bourbon whiskey country, it is no surprise that some of the cocktails got their origins here.
One such cocktail is called the Old Fashioned. The bourbon cocktail includes sugar, bourbon, water, and bitters. It is usually garnished with an orange slice, a lemon twist, and 2 maraschino cherries.It was purportedly coined in 1881 (though many cocktails since the 1860s were called 'old fashioneds') by a bartender at the Pendennis Club in Louisville. It was named in honor of Colonel James E. Pepper, who took the recipe with him to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The rest is history.
The drink became immensely popular with the New York high society. The cocktail was popular into the 1960s, and is the favorite drink of Don Draper of the AMC show Mad Men. Though the drink had fallen out of favor since the '60s, the hit show caused a revived interest in the drink in the last decade.